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How Do Hearing Aids Work? How Effective are They?

a woman is having a bte hearing aid placed in her ear

Hearing loss is something which one in five experience at some point in their lifetime. It is easy to believe that it will never happen to you and if it does, it won’t be until much later in life. However, there is a strong chance that you will experience hearing loss, and it is not only something that people experience later in life. 

When someone is experiencing hearing loss, they may need to wear a hearing aid. Hearing aids are a very effective way of allowing you to hear again. There are countless different makes and models of hearing aids which are available on the market, each with their own features and benefits. If you are experiencing hearing loss, then wearing a hearing aid is one of the best ways that you can enjoy a fuller range of sounds once more. 

How do hearing aids work?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you will wear in your ear to improve your hearing. Hearing aids are generally very lightweight, and they can allow the wearer to enjoy many of the things in life that hearing loss had prevented them from doing. 

In its simplest form, a hearing aid will consist of three parts; a microphone, an amplifier and a speaker. 

The microphone will receive all of the sounds from the area and converts these sound waves into electrical signals which it will then send to the amplifier. 

Once the amplifier receives the electrical signals, it will increase the power of these signals, it then sends them to the speaker which will be situated in the ear. 

A digital hearing aid will convert the sound waves into code before it amplifies them. Digital hearing aids will be able to give the audiologist greater control over the range of sounds that you can hear as they can be programmed to focus on certain sounds and frequencies, work better in particular environments and be directed at sounds coming from a specific direction. 

Hearing aids are most useful in improving the hearing of people who have hearing loss caused by any damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear. These sensory cells are known as hair cells. This particular type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss and may occur as a result of disease, ageing or injury from exposure to loud noise. 

The hearing aid will use the surviving hair cells in the ear. The greater the hearing loss that is experienced, the more powerful the amplification will need to be. That said, there are practical limits on the levels of amplification which can be used. 

How effective are hearing aids?

For many people who are experiencing hearing loss, wearing a hearing aid can be life-changing. Hearing loss can leave you unable to fully participate in conversations and to enjoy the level of communication that you may need. By wearing a hearing aid, this could all change. 

Hearing aid technology has rapidly improved over the last couple of decades. Digital hearing aids offer much greater flexibility and control over all of the different parameters. This means that if your hearing loss centers on a particular range of frequencies, then your audiologist will be able to program your hearing aid to pick on those frequencies. If you experience greater degrees of hearing loss when you are in certain environments, like busy restaurants, then your audiologist will be able to optimize your hearing aid to meet your specific needs. 

Finding the right hearing aid

When it comes to selecting the right hearing aid for yourself, you may feel overwhelmed by the choice and worry that you will need to pick. Make an appointment with your audiologist and they will carry out a full and thorough hearing test with you. This will allow your audiologist to work out the level of hearing loss that you are experiencing. Once this has been identified your audiologist will be able to recommend specific hearing aids that are going to perfectly match your needs. 

Your audiologist will also be able to help you with setting up your hearing aid. Getting the hearing aid set up exactly right for your needs is vital, in order to ensure it is as effective as possible, you should only ever have your hearing aid adjusted by your audiologist. 

For more information on hearing aids, or to learn more about The Center for Audiology call us in Houston at 713-255-0035 and in Pearland at 713-800-5050