Key Points about Hearing Aids
- A hearing aid is a small electronic device that improves hearing by amplifying soft sounds.
- Hearing aids are most appropriate for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss in both ears.
- There are a variety of types of hearing aids, including behind-the-ear hearing aid, in-the-ear hearing aid, or canal hearing aid.
- Your doctor will discuss the options with you to determine which option is most appropriate for your case.
- Learning to live with a hearing aid is a process. It will take time and effort to relearn sounds and words using a hearing aid.
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that can help improve your hearing by amplifying sounds that are harder to hear.
A hearing aid is made up of a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid works by receiving sound through the microphone. It will then convert the sound waves to electrical signals and transfer them to the amplifier. The amplifier will increase the volume of the signals and send them to the ear.
A hearing aid can not cure hearing loss or restore normal hearing but can improve how well you hear soft, harder to hear sounds. There are a variety of styles of hearing aids including:
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) - behind the ear hearing aid consists of a plastic case that sits behind the ear that is connected to the inside of the outer ear.
- In-the-ear (ITC) - the in-the-ear hearing aid sits completely inside the outer ear. Typically it is used for mild to severe hearing loss.
- Canal hearing aid (CIC) - a canal hearing aid is nearly hidden in the ear canal. A CIC hearing aid can be used for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Candidates for a hearing aid
The most appropriate candidate for a hearing aid is a person with mild to moderate bilateral hearing loss who is experiencing issues hearing clearly.
Hearing aids are not indicated for patients who have minor hearing loss or severe hearing loss.
Preparing for a hearing aid
In preparation for getting your hearing aid, you will need to attend a hearing aid fitting. A fitting will ensure your hearing aid will meet your specific needs.
Your audiologist will also outline all the information you will need to prepare yourself for living with a hearing aid.
To ensure you have the best hearing aid for your condition, complete all the hearing tests required by your care team. You also will have an appointment where your hearing aid mold is designed to fit your ears perfectly.
What to expect while wearing a hearing aid
Most modern hearing aids are digital and powered with a hearing aid battery.
Hearing aids work by using a microphone to collect environmental sounds. An amplifier takes the sounds and converts them to digital code. The hearing aid will analyze the sound and adjust to your specific needs. The sounds are then converted back to sound waves and sent to your ear (s) through a speaker.
Living with a hearing aid
It can take as long as four months to get used to wearing a hearing aid. You may notice small improvements in hearing right away, but it is important to be patient in the process. During the early trial period, you may need to have the hearing aids adjusted several times.
Improvements in hearing will take time. Background noises such as environmental sounds or traffic noise will gradually return over time. It will take re-education for you to filter sounds. Certain sounds may startle you initially.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions or concerns about how your hearing aid is working.