How do Hearing Aids Work?

How do Hearing Aids Work?

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA Hearing Aid Technology, Hearing Aids

Leanne E. Polhill, LHAS, BC-HIS, BA

It’s common to struggle to hear what people say every now and then, but if it seems like it’s happening all the time, then it’s time to have your hearing tested. While hearing loss is permanent, the most common treatment is hearing aids. These amazing devices amplify sounds you struggle to hear, based on your individual hearing exam. How do these amazing devices work?

The World of Modern Hearing Aids

Hearing aids today offer a more natural experience with hearing in part thanks to developments in digital technology. This allows us as audiologists to program your hearing aids to the delicate and individual tones and pitches which you struggle with as an individual. No one’s hearing loss is the same but we are here to help you hear clear so you can participate in the life you love. Conversations can go smoothly without the need to strain or over stress your cognitive load. If you remember hearing aids of the past they were large cumbersome and prone to feed back. Now thanks to digital technology hearing aids are smaller, more user friendly and can be controlled by your smartphone. 

Modern Hearing Aids: How Do They Work?

Analog hearing aids of the past delivered the entire soundwave to the ears, while digital technology breaks the wave into tiny micro steps. More isn’t always more, and the complete sound wave of analog gave older hearing aids a reputation for feedback issues. Digital hearing aids today are super computers amplifying with nuance and clarity but even analog hearing aids the past essentially operated off the principles. There are about three components you can expect in all hearing aids: a microphone to pick up sound, a processor to analyze and convert that sound into electrical signals, and a receiver that sends the signals to your eardrum to be better perceived in your brain. Meanwhile a battery is used to power the device. Todays’ hearing aids are designed not to make the world around you louder but to amply sounds you want to hear while eliminating sounds which can be distracting.

Getting the Volume Right

There are assistive listening devices which can be purchased over the counter to amplify every sound around you. While these devices are much more affordable, they often miss the important nuance of amplification which can give you a smoother and organic listening experience. Today’s hearing aids are programed based on your hearing test to amplify only the sounds you need, while leaving the rest to be heard with your existing hearing. The result is an experience which emulates your original hearing. It can also be fine-tuned to hear better in noise and to cancel out background noise like wind. Your hearing aids will help you to hear in challenging situations, and they have a variety of programs tuned into them. Some hearing aids switch to the right frequency automatically, and others require you to flick a switch and get them to the right place.

What Can Your Hearing Aids Do?

Not only do today’s hearing aids enhance hearing like never before but they offer features which change the face of hearing aid technology. What features are best for you has to do with what you want out of them depending on your lifestyle. For those who enjoy attending public speaking events, attending the theater, church or ride public transportation, they may benefit from a technology called T-coil. Also known as a hearing loop or induction loop, public spaces equipped with this feature deliver amplified sound from a PA directly to your hearing aids, eliminating distracting background sounds which could make it hard to hear.

Others who enjoy the outdoors may enjoy water resistance, while others may like the wireless connectivity delivered right to your ears of Bluetooth for their smartphones, laptops, stereos, and televisions.

Contacting the Professionals

If you suspect that you could benefit from hearing aids do not hesitate to contact our office today. Untreated hearing loss can lead to a host of health complications such as chronic depression, social isolation, cognitive decline, and a higher risk of falls leading to hospitalizations. However, with the use of hearing aids you can avoid the emotional physical and cognitive effects of hearing loss. Schedule a hearing exam today.