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In layman’s terms, how do hearing aids actually work

I know that hearing aids can improve my hearing as I’ve been told by my audiologist that they have a proven track record of working for thousands of people.

I’ve read about all the different kinds of hearing aids available and I’ll still at a loss on how they actually work. Please can you tell me, in simple terminology, how hearing aids operate?

Answer

There is a wide range of hearing devices on the market to choose from but fundamentally they all work in the same way. They all have the following basic components:

Microphone- this picks up the sounds around you. One microphone is usually placed facing the front and another is positioned towards the back, so you get sound input from two directions.

Receiver- this is a really small speaker that plays the amplified sound into your ear.

Processor/amplifier- This digital component acts as the ‘middle man’ between the microphone and the receiver. It works out how much the sound should be amplified and at what frequency. In the blink of an eye, it can perform some out-of-this-world calculations.

On the device specifications it may mention something about the numbers of bands or channels. These are just the different frequencies that the sound is divided into before it is processed, and it can vary from 2 to 22. As a rule of thumb, the greater the number the more sophisticated the hearing aid is. Just like a stereo system, the more sliders you have the better the quality. 

This is just a breakdown of how hearing aid devices work; in reality there are much more interesting features. If you’re still unsure, just give us a ring and we’ll try to explain it in more/less detail. 

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