How Do Hearing Aids Work? How Effective are They?

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a picture of two hearing aids with a hearing specialist in the background

Hearing aids can substantially improve your quality of life if you select the right one for your specific ear and hearing loss. 

Not being able to hear properly can have an impact on your personal relationships, and even your career. Some people with mild hearing loss may be able to get by without a hearing aid, others may decide they want one to improve how they communicate. By visiting a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) you will quickly be able to find the right kind for you.

How do hearing aids work?

A hearing aid is a battery-powered electronic device designed to improve hearing. They are now small enough to be worn behind the ear and help to make sounds in your environment louder. However, they come in many different sizes, shapes and styles to suit both children and adults with mild-severe hearing loss. Here’s how they work: 

  • A microphone picks up sound around you
  • An amplifier makes the sound louder
  • A receiver sends these amplified sounds into your ear

Not everybody with hearing loss may benefit from hearing aids. One in five people who could have improvement end up using them.

Hearing aids could potentially help people who have hearing loss caused by:

  • Disease
  • Aging
  • Loud noises
  • Medications

As there are various types of hearing aids, you will need to consider the following before you select the one for you:

  • The type of hearing loss you have and how severe it is
  • Your age
  • How well you can manage small devices
  • Your lifestyle
  • Cost

Of course, it’s always better to be assessed by a professional HIS, who will be able to discuss your needs with you and then help you to find the right hearing aid. 

Different hearing aids work in slightly different ways, and may look a little different. For example:

  • Digital hearing aids: Convert sound waves into numerical codes similar to computer codes, then amplify them. The code includes information about the direction of a sound and its pitch or volume. 
  • Canal hearing aids: Fit inside your ear and are harder to see. An in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is tailored to your ear canal. A completely-in-canal (CIC) aid is smaller and nearly hidden in your ear. Some people like these as they are almost invisible.
  • In the ear (ITE): Fit completely inside your outer ear. They have a hard-plastic case that holds the electronics. 
  • Behind the ear (BTE): Hearing aids sit in a hard-plastic case behind your ear. A plastic ear mold fits inside the outer ear and directs sound to the ear. 
  • Receiver in canal (RIC): Have a behind-the-ear component that connects to a receiver in the ear or ear canal with a tiny wire. These allow low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally and high-frequency sounds to be amplified through the hearing aid. 

How effective are hearing aids? 

Hearing aids can greatly improve quality of life for those who need them. However, it is unlikely you will be able to hear the same as you once used to – they do not cure your hearing loss. They can, however, help you to listen and talk with others at a far better quality than you did before you had the hearing aid. 

For some reason, there are myths online that claim a hearing aid will damage your hearing, but this is not the case. A hearing aid that is right for you and your condition will help you, not hinder you. Even those with mild hearing loss can benefit from a hearing aid. A HIS will be able to help you figure out which type is right for you. It’s crucial that you are assessed and fitted for the right hearing aid, so bear this in mind. 

Everyone's hearing loss and listening needs are different. Some people may find that wearing two hearing aids benefits them – after all, you do use both ears to listen and communicate. This will depend entirely on you as a person and your needs, so discuss with a HIS if you think you should be fitted with a suitable hearing aid.  

Learn more about Nobile Hearing Aids

If you’d like to learn more about hearing aids and which could be right for you, contact Nobile Hearing Aids at 239-772-8101. A HIS will be available to help you figure out which type of hearing aid is right for you, whether you’re looking for something discrete and small, or prefer a power-packed device.