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How Do Hearing Aids Work? How Effective Are They?

a hand holding a blue hearing aid

If you ask any audiologist what the most effective treatment for most types of hearing loss is, they’re most likely to answer with “hearing aids.” This does not mean that they are the best option for absolutely everyone, but if you are experiencing hearing loss and wondering what treatment will suit you, then hearing aids are most likely to be what you are recommended.

If you’re curious about how, exactly, they can help you, then let’s take a look at how hearing aids actually work, as well as what makes them effective in the first place.

How hearing aids work

Depending on the type of hearing aid you wear in the ear (ITE), behind the ear (BTE) and in the canal (ITC), they are worn in and or on the ear, whether they are fitted at some point inside or worn behind the ear with a microphone that reaches to just inside the outer ear. Given that hearing aids have been becoming smaller and more lightweight, you can get discreet options of every type that remain just as effective as you might expect from them.

It’s easy to assume that hearing aids just use an amplifier to make external noises louder but the truth is that they are much more complex. As such, they typically rely on five primary components, the microphone, the loudspeaker, the processor, the computer chip and the battery. Here is a brief overview of what every component does:

  • The microphone is what takes in the sound from the surrounding environment, feeding it through to the processor in the form of analog electrical signals.
  • The loudspeaker is what plays the music directly into your ear after it has been processed, amplified and otherwise adjusted by the computer chip and processor.
  • The processor converts the analog electronic signals from the microphone into a digital format, which is then fed into the computer chip.
  • The computer chip controls which sounds are amplified and which are not after they have been converted into digital format, as well as which sounds are suppressed. They can be programmed by an audiologist or by the user, to best fit your needs depending on aspects like hearing loss severity and what kind of noise environment you are in.
  • The battery is what powers the whole device. Batteries provide electrical energy until they run out of their charge, after which they either need to be replaced or recharged, depending on what type they are.

This is a very basic idea of what hearing aids can provide. The technicalities of these devices are much more complicated still and may differ on a device-to-device basis. After all, some hearing aids use technology that provides more advanced benefits, such as canceling certain kinds of noise and connecting you to digital devices via Bluetooth to help in a range of ways.

If you want to know more about the specifics of how individual hearing aids can help you, then it’s best to get in touch with your audiologist to find which best suits your needs, what features they use and how these features work.

The effectiveness of hearing aids

How effective are hearing aids? The answer to this question depends, of course, on which hearing aids you are using for what kind of hearing loss. Some are better suited to moderate levels of hearing loss some are better for severe hearing loss.

When you have the right hearing aid, they provide a quality-of-life improvement in the form of helping you hear better. They do not restore your hearing completely or cure hearing loss, but they do help you better hear your environment and live with hearing loss.

There are some people who may not benefit as much from a hearing aid, however. They might not be recommended for the most profound levels of hearing loss.

That said, most people who experience mild-to-severe hearing loss are going to benefit greatly from a hearing aid. That said, you can only maximize your benefit with the help of an audiologist who can help you select a device to suit your needs.

Partner with an audiologist at Rocky Mountain Hearing & Balance today

Our team at Rocky Mountain Hearing & Balance has helped countless people fit the hearing aids that they need. Learn more and arrange a hearing test today to get the process started by calling us today at 801-268-3277.