According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 28.8 million adults in the U.S. could benefit from using hearing aids. Do you know someone who is hard of hearing? Would a hearing aid help them? Read on to find out.
What is it and How Does it Work?
A hearing aid is a small device that fits in or around a person’s ear and amplifies sound for those who are hearing impaired. Typically, a hearing aid consists of three parts: a microphone, amplifier, and a speaker. The microphone receives the sound, which is then converted into an electrical signal. Those signals are then sent to an amplifier, which increases the power of said signals before delivering them to the ear by way of a speaker. Through testing and working with an audiologist, a person can have hearing aids specifically adjusted to meet their needs.
Different Types of Hearing Aids
The two main types of hearing aids are analog and digital. Analog hearing aids simply transform the sound waves into electrical signals which are then amplified. Digital hearing aids provide a more detailed sound profile because they convert sound waves into numerical codes similarly to how a computer uses binary code, before amplifying them. While typically more customizable, digital hearing aids are usually more expensive than analog hearing aids.
There are three types of hearing aids which differ in their size, location, and fit. The first type is behind-the-ear. With behind-the-ear hearing aids, a hard-plastic case affixed behind the outside of the ear holds all the electronic components. Sound travels from the case through a tube to a plastic earmold that is fitted inside the ear. The second variety of hearing aid is called in-the-ear.
As the name suggests, this hearing aid fits entirely inside the outer ear and the case holding the electrical components is composed of hard plastic. And finally, there is the smallest and least visible type of hearing aid known as a canal aid. This is located inside the ear canal, usually shaped to fit inside of a wearer’s ear canal. Because this type of hearing aid is smaller and set deeper into the ear, it is less powerful than the other kinds and more difficult to adjust and
remove as well.
Hearing Aid Care Tips
It is important to take proper care of your hearing aid to ensure cleanliness. Hearing aids should be kept away from heat and moisture, as well as hair care products, pets, and children. Dead batteries should be changed out immediately and the hearing aid itself should be cleaned as instructed. Moreover, hearing aids should always be switched off when not in use, and patients should take special care not to drop the hearing aid.