What Is A Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid is a medical device worn around and within the ear that helps amplify sound so that a person with hearing loss is able to better hear their surroundings
Hearing aids consist of four basic parts, the microphone, the processor, the receiver, and the battery.
The microphone catches the sound surrounding the user, this microphone can be directional, picking up sound in front of the user, or omni directional, picking up sound from all directions. The sound caught by the microphone is converted into a digital message that is then sent to the processor.
The processor picks up the digital message of the microphone and customizes what gets amplified. Once programmed by a professional, the processor can enhance speech recognition, amplify certain sounds, and reduce background noise.
The receiver takes soundwaves from the processor and sends them to the ear canal. A professional can fit the earpiece comfortably in the user’s ear to ensure the cleanest, highest quality of sound is heard.
The battery makes the hearing aid functional. The style and capabilities of the hearing aid determine how long a battery lasts. Disposable batteries can last from three to twenty days. Many hearing aids have rechargeable batteries to provide power throughout the day and to be charged at night.
Styles of Hearing Aids
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE) fit behind the ear and are connected to an earpiece that delivers sound inside the ear canal. BTEs are a possible solution for anyone experiencing mild to major hearing loss.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids (ITE) are made of a hard plastic and fit to the curves of the ear canal and outer ear. ITEs are not recommended for children due to how often they’d need to be replaced because of rapid ear growth. There are multiple sub-types of ITE hearing aids, including:
Full-Shell: fills the entire bowl of the outer ear
Half-Shell: fills half the bowl of the outer ear
In-the-canal (ITC): Almost entirely in the ear canal
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC): placed deeply in the ear canal