What is a hearing aid?
Hearing aids help people who have a hearing loss hear better. A hearing aid is placed in or behind the ear.
Hearing aid technology is constantly evolving and becoming increasingly advanced. Modern hearing aids are small high-tech computers, which are constantly being refined and developed to provide a better reproduction of natural human hearing.
This progress allows for increasing numbers of sophisticated features to be built into the hearing aids and provide improved sound reproduction. The ability to adapt the hearing aids to individual demands with respect to your daily environment and type of hearing loss is constantly improving.
Hearing aids can be divided into four categories:
- Behind-the-ear hearing aids
- In-the-ear hearing aids
- In-the-canal hearing aids
- Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids
How does a hearing aid work?
Hearing aids consist of the same four major parts or components.
- A microphone
- A computer
- An amplifier
- A loudspeaker
The microphone picks up sounds from the air and converts them into electrical signals. The computer manipulates the electronic signals to fit the hearing loss of the individual user. The amplifier increases the intensity of the signals from the microphone. Finally, the loudspeaker converts the electrical signals from the amplifier into the acoustic signals heard by the user.
Digital or analogue
Digital hearing aids and analogue hearing aids differ greatly.
Most modern hearing aids today use digital technology. They transform the sound, convert it into bits, and manipulate it before amplifying the signal. A digital hearing aid can be programmed. This means that digital hearing aids can be individually adjusted to suit the individual user and the different types of hearing loss by means of a small computer.
Analogue hearing aids amplify sound signals picked up by a microphone and convert them into small electrical signals. These signals are transmitted into the ear in real time. They can be altered according to the needs of the individual user within the limits of the analogue technology. Some degree of programming is possible with the most advanced analogue hearing aids.
Still more programming
The more advanced modern digital hearing aids are constantly analyzing the sounds of your environment and changing between built-in programs, automatically selecting the appropriate programming mode for the specific hearing situation.
The entire sound reproduction is constantly adapted by the hearing aids to provide you with the best possible hearing.
Which hearing aid should I choose?
The best hearing aid for you should compensate for your personal hearing loss. You should always choose hearing aids which match your needs. A hearing aid professional should therefore always guide you when choosing your hearing aids.
Hearing aids provide a person with hearing loss a better hearing and improve the perception of speech and other sounds. Hearing aids can however not restore hearing back to normal hearing.