How Hearing Aids Works.

by David C. John

The type of hearing aids that we have today have been around for literally decades. Though not very convenient, these early cone-shaped devices worked by focusing and exaggerating the sound through the funnel into the ear. Now there are more impressive types of hearing devices, working with a higher degree of technology: but how do they work?

The usage of small microphones inside hearing aids is how they work. First, as the device gets the sound, it is converted to electrical or digital signals, then it is reconverted back to sound as it is sent to a speaker. Microphone settings are dependent upon how bad the hearing loss is and how much distraction is present in the person’s every day environment.

Environment here refers to how much and what kind of noise you are usually around. For example, a person will have greatly different needs if they are in a high frequency environment versus if they are in a constant quiet conversation environment. These different factors will help your audiologist adjust the settings on your device but this is only part of the answer as to how they work.

The receiving and conversion of signals is very important in hearing aids, and there are three basic types of technology that allow those processes to happen. The least and advanced technology and the least expensive type go hand in hand: this is the analog adjustable. The volume and other specifications can be fixed by your audiologist. The product is made by a factory in a custom design for you so you are able to control the volume either manually or automatically from that point.

A Hearing aid will also include a type of circuitry known as the analog programmable. These are somewhat better than the analog adjustable because they can be programmed using a computer. It is programmed by the audiologist: he or she will program in various types of sound capture and transmission possibilities.

The programs can be selected at any point by the user with a provided remote control. Digital programmable devices are the most advanced and, of course, the most expensive. In the beginning, after finally getting the design correct, the devices were far too large to begin to be practical but this problem has since been corrected.

These digital hearing aids use DSP – Digital Sound Processing – to work. A computer chip analyzes and will process the sound before the amplification process begins in the ear. This is used to give them the correct settings. At this point, the data is changed back into sound, as it gets sent through the ear. The digital models also have the capability of detecting and eliminating feedback by identifying the frequencies which work automatically with little adjustment from the wearer.

In recent years, hearing aids have increased dramatically. If you need help hearing, you have a variety of options available. Hearing aids are a very important device that works through the aid of technology.

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