Today's hearing aids had come a long, long way since
its invention in the 17th century. Modern hearing aids come with
sophisticated technology that makes it nothing short of a scientific marvel.
And, not to forget, it helps millions of people hear and enjoy life
If you're a hearing aid user or contemplating using one, it's a great idea to understand the basics of what's inside it and how it works. It not only helps you appreciate these marvelous technological inventions but also enables you to troubleshoot it if any errors occur.
Hearing aids are of two major types:
Regardless of the hearing aid you use, it contains the
following three major components.
The functioning of the hearing aid starts with the
microphone. It picks up the various sounds from the environment and converts it
into electric signals that are fed to the processor.
When you buy hearing aids, look for advanced models that can differentiate between different sounds helping to separate background noise from speech. These models segregate sounds into various categories, processing them differently, thereby providing the wearer with a better hearing experience.
Microphones can be further classified into two types:
Nearly all modern hearing aids have both these types
of microphones to provide users with a more natural listening experience.
It's also known as the amplifier. It's the small chip
that acts as the brain of the hearing aid. It converts the electric signals
picked up by the microphone into digital signals. The microprocessor decides
how the digital signal has to be amplified based on the wearer's needs. The
severity of the user's hearing loss determines the amplification levels.
To give an example, if the person has low to moderate
hearing loss, then the signals are amplified only a little. The power of
amplification depends on the hearing capabilities of the wearer. This is why
swapping or exchanging hearing aids with another wearer is not recommended.
The processor also cuts down other distracting sounds
in the environment like wind, background noises, etc. Once the processor has
optimized the sounds picked, it converts the signal – from digital to analog,
which goes to the next component.
Also known as the speaker, this is the final component
of the hearing aid. The primary role of a hearing aid is to deliver sounds from
the environment directly to your ear. And, the receiver does that. It
transforms the electric signals from the processor into sound waves that are
passed into the wearer's inner ear.
The position of the receiver depends on the severity
of the hearing loss and lifestyle preferences. In some hearing aids, the
speaker is placed directly into the ear canal. While in other models - the
receiver is connected to a small tube inserted into the ear.
Apart from these three major components, hearing aids
have other minor but equally important parts like:
Understanding the components of your hearing aid will help you make informed choices while comparing different hearing aids for sale. Make sure to learn the features of your hearing aid, to pick the right one that suits your medical requirements as well as your lifestyle preferences.