A hearing aid is an electronic device that can receive and amplify incoming sounds for people with hearing impairment to aim for better sound understanding through proper amplification.

Here’s how they work:

  1. A microphone picks up sound around you.
  2. An amplifier makes the sound louder.
  3. A receiver sends these amplified sounds into your ear.

Not everyone with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. But only 1 in 5 people who could have improvement to wear them. Most of the time, they’re for people who have damage to their inner ear or the nerve that links the ear with the brain. The damage can come from:

  1. Disease
  2. Aging
  3. Loud noises
  4. Medications

What can I expect from my hearing aids?

Unlike eyeglasses, hearing aids do not correct your hearing back to normal. Instead, hearing aids function to amplify sounds in a particular range of pitches – the range where the hearing loss exists. Included in those sounds can be speech or environment sounds such as bells ringing, birds singing, conversations from nearby tables at a restaurant or busy traffic noise.

While the hearing aid technology today is excellent, the devices are still an “aid” and cannot separate the desired speech signal from the background noise as well as our brain and two normal functioning ears can. Therefore, it is important to employ communication strategies when using hearing aids in difficult listening environments.

Do I need one or two hearing aids?

If hearing loss exists in both ears, there is greater benefit in using a device in each ear – similar to wearing eyeglasses with two lenses. There are always exceptions to the general rule and that will be discussed with your audiologist. Benefits from hearing aids in each ear include:

  1. Improved ability to understand speech in background noise
  2. Less amplification in each hearing aid reducing the possibility of feedback (hearing aid whistling)
  3. Less auditory effort so you are less fatigued at the end of the day
  4. Improved ability to locate the source of sound

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