How do hearing aids work?

Have you ever been getting ready to put your hearing aid in your ear and wondered to yourself, “How does this tiny device have the ability to help me hear better?”

When it comes to the actual device there are four important components work together to make the smallest whisper become loud and clear to you, even in a room full of multiple, distinctive, high and low pitched noises.

First there is the microphone that sits on the outside of the hearing aid. The microphone will take that tiny whisper then convert the sound waves to electrical signals sending them to the amplifier. Next the amplifier increases the power of the signals sending them to the ear through a speaker. The last important part to your hearing aid is the battery. The battery is the power source for your hearing aid. Finally, you ear detects the sounds vibrations and convert them to neural signals. In the inner part of your ear there are hair cells. These hair cells pick up the vibrations that your hearing aid is transmitting and convert the vibrations into nerve signals. Without these hair cells your hearing aid may not work.

There are two types of hearing aids, either analog or digital. Most likely you’ll have the digital. The analog hearing aid will end up amplifying every sound identically. Analog basically is taking every sound that is around you and making it louder. Digital hearing aids contain a chip called Digital Signal Processor (DSP). This chip takes in an analog signal, translating it into digital format, delivering sound signals to your ear canal. Both the digital and analog can be programmed for different listening environments.

Did you know that your hearing aid functions can now be controlled by an App on your iPhone? The new iPhone hearing aids not only help you hear better, they also enable you to connect with your iPhone. Android is currently developing similar apps and hearing aids.

Part app, part hearing aid, these amazing devices provide increased sound clarity on your iPhone, enhanced phone communication, and clearer sounding music and media – and it’s all controlled by an easy-to-use app on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

Working like a normal hearing aid, these products utilize an app on your iPhone enabling you to move seamlessly from your phone to conversations. They can even come equipped with a GPS feature adjusts noise-reduction and directional microphones based on your GPS location.

The technology also works as wireless stereo headphones, streaming your phone calls, music, videos, apps and even FaceTime directly into your ears with elevated sound quality.

If you have any questions about your hearing aids or how it functions, talk to your Audiologist.

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