Hearing Aid FAQ
What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a battery-powered, electronic device that makes listening, communicating and participating easier for people with a hearing loss. A hearing aid consists of a microphone, an amplifier and a receiver. The microphone picks up sounds in your acoustic environment and turns them into electronic signals. The amplifier selectively amplifies the acoustic electronic signals. The receiver is a very small speaker that changes the electronic signals back to sounds and delivers the sound to the ear. Hearing aid technology is becoming more sophisticated everyday. Today’s digital hearing instruments amplify soft sounds to make them audible just like hearing aids of the past but they are able to provide many advantages over past hearing aids. These improvements include features that protect your ears to ensure that sudden loud sounds like a door slamming are not too loud, sound classifiers that will automatically adjust the characteristics of the hearing aid based on the sounds around you and even features that allow you to wirelessly talk on your mobile phone and have the sound amplified to meet your listening needs.
How can hearing aids help?
Hearing aids improve hearing and speech comprehension in patients with sensorineural hearing loss, which can be a result of disease, aging, or injury from exposure to noise or certain medications.
How can I find out if I need a hearing aid?
If you think you might have hearing loss and could benefit from a hearing aid, the first step is to make an appointment with an audiologist to have your hearing tested. An audiologist is a hearing health professional who identifies and measures hearing loss and will perform a hearing test to assess the type and degree of your hearing loss.
Do all hearing aids work the same way?
Hearing aids work differently depending on the electronics used. Two main types of electronics used in hearing aids are analog and digital. Analog aids convert sound waves into electrical signals, which are amplified. Analog/adjustable hearing aids are custom built to meet the needs of the individual user. The aid is programmed by the manufacturer according to specifications recommended by your audiologist. Analog/programmable hearing aids have more than one program for different listening environments ranging from a small, quiet room to a crowded restaurant to large, open areas such as a theater or stadium. Digital aids convert sound waves into numerical codes, similar to the binary code of a computer, before amplifying them. Because the code also includes information about a sound pitch or loudness, the aid can be specifically programmed to amplify some frequencies more than others. Digital circuitry gives an audiologist more flexibility in adjusting the aid to a user’s needs and to certain listening environments. These aids can be programmed to focus on sounds coming from a specific direction.
Which hearing aid style will work best for me?
Hearing aids come in various styles, differing in size, placement in or behind the ear and by the level of technology they provide. We will work with you to determine the best style for your lifestyle and listening environment.