In part one of this three-part blog series, we talked about what hearing loss is, what some of the signs and symptoms are, as well as the many different things that can cause hearing loss. Now let’s dive deeper into what exactly a hearing aid is, how it can help, and an overview of a hearing aids different parts.
What is a hearing aid and how can it help?
Simply put, hearing aid devices are sound-amplifying devices that are designed to treat hearing loss. Most devices are made up of several similar electronic components. These include a microphone that picks up sounds, amplifier circuitry that makes sound louder, a receiver that delivers the amplified sound into the ear canal, and a hearing aid battery which powers is all.
Hearing aids can differ by their design, the quality of the technology used to create their internal components, and the severity of hearing loss they’re intended to treat.
Hearing aids can help by improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss called sensorineural hearing loss. This type of loss can occur as a result of aging, disease, exposure to louse noise, or certain medicines.
What are some of the common features of a hearing aid?
Telecoil: A Telecoil is a small copper coil inside a hearing aid that works as a small receiver which can pick up signals from an induction loop system. A Telecoil setting can be used in theaters, auditoriums, churches, conference centers, and anywhere that has an induction loop installation.
Directional microphone: Directional microphones help you communicate in noisy environments by allowing sounds that are coming from a particular direction to be amplified more than sounds from other directions.
Processor: The hearing aid processor read the microphone’s digital information and customizes what will be amplified. Different programs of the hearing aid tell the processor to enhance and amplify different sounds. A high-quality processor means a high-quality hearing aid device.
Receiver: The receiver carries the soundwaves from the processor to the earpiece where sounds are amplified.
Feedback suppression: This is a newer technology that suppresses squeals and other feedback noises when the device gets too close to something.
Sound tube and dome: A hearing aid sound tube transmit sound from the microphone into your ear canal. The ear dome is the disposable earpiece that is placed on the sound tubes so it can fit comfortably in the ear. Domes can have an open or closed design.
Hearing Aid Battery: The most common battery type for a hearing aid is a zinc-air battery. They are small, button-shaped batteries that are air-activated by peeling back a sticker that comes attached to it. Once the sticker is removed the oxygen interacts with the zinc to “turn it on” for your device. They can last anywhere from 5-7 days if you wear your devices full time.
Volumes and programs: Adjustable hearing aid volumes and programs help tailor the device to your own specific hearing needs.
Stay tuned for part three of this three-part Hearing Loss 101 series to learn more about the benefits of wearing a hearing aid, how to care for them, and where you can find affordable hearing aids online.
Looking for a hearing clinic near you? Visit our audiologist directory HERE