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How Do Hearing Aids Work?

Published on Aug 5, 2019

When starting to research hearing aids, many folks have a lot of questions. “Will this help my kind of hearing loss?” “Where can I buy hearing aids?” “Do I need to buy the super expensive hearing aid?” “How do I clean it?” But another major question on people’s minds is a seemingly simple one: “How do hearing aids work?”

What are Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are devices that help people with hearing loss hear better. Depending on the design, hearing aids can be worn behind, on, or in the ear. Some are completely hidden within the ear canal, but this can make it harder to use the controls and keep it clean. Others are slightly bigger and easier to adjust, but need to be fitted behind the ear (although many modern behind-the-ear hearing aids are discreet and nearly invisible once you put it on).

how do hearing aids work

But How Do Hearing Aids Work?

When your inner ear’s sensory cells (often known as hair cells) are damaged, they can no longer send neural signals to your brain. This is the cause of sensorineural hearing loss. It’s the most common form of hearing loss for older Americans, brought on by heavy noise exposure, disease, and even just normal aging. The less surviving hair cells you have, the harder it is to hear. That’s where hearing aids come in.

While new technology is making them more and more complex, a hearing aid has three main parts:

  • The first is a microphone, which picks up the sounds around you.
  • Then there’s the amplifier, which magnifies the sound.
  • And finally, there’s the receiver which delivers sound vibrations to your ear.

So the hearing aid picks up the sounds you are missing, processes them, and sends the sound  to your hair cells which interpret them as neural signals. That is the simplest explanation for hearing aids. But there’s so much more to understand about how hearing aids work to help you hear comfortably.

Modern Hearing Aid Features

Now that we’ve answered the basics of “How do hearing aids work?”, let’s talk about the features. Hearing aids have a ton of different features now that add more control and comfort for the user beyond the three main parts.

  • Dual directional microphones adjust the sound quality to your surroundings. Some do this automatically — this is called adaptive listening.
  • Special environmental sound sensing system stops background noise from wearing you down.
  • Quick-response advanced feedback cancellation reduces that annoying whistling.
  • Multiple program settings and adaptive technology allow you to communicate with ease in any situation.
  • Hearing aid apps let you personalize your hearing experience from the comfort of home and use your smartphone as a remote.

how do hearing aids work

But why are hearing aids so expensive?

It seems contrarian that something so tiny could cost so much money. But like a lot of other types of technology, the more compact the device, the more challenges faced getting it to work properly. The closer the microphone, amplifier, and receiver are to each other, the more likely you are to get poor sound quality and whistling. That means more expensive technology is required to offset the feedback.

That’s one of the reasons MDHearingAid specializes in behind-the-ear hearing aids (which keep the microphone and receiver separate). It helps us keep our prices affordable while still bringing our customers a quality hearing aid.

Can’t I just buy an amplifier online?

It’s true that PSAPs (personal sound amplifiers) can be found on lots of different retail websites, including Amazon. They’re very cheap to buy, but there’s a reason for that. PSAPs are not hearing aids and aren’t able to assist people with hearing loss. Amplifiers do just that — they amplify all sound around you. Voices will still sound muffled to you, they’ll just be as loud as every other sound in the room.

PSAPs are only really useful for people with healthy hearing to do specific activities, like bird watching. They’re not meant to be used all the time and they certainly aren’t meant to replace FDA-registered hearing aids. Unfortunately, too many online companies trick people into thinking they’re buying hearing aids when they’re really buying a pair of PSAPs. It’s important to do your research so you don’t have to worry about being scammed.

If you are looking for a good deal on good quality hearing aids, consider an online hearing aid company like MDHearingAid. Because we sell directly to the customer instead of to retailers like hearing clinics, we’re able to keep costs down and pass the savings onto you.

Want to test out our hearing aids? MDHearingAid offers a 45-day risk-free trial with FREE SHIPPING.
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Doug Breaker
Chief Executive Officer
Doug Breaker serves as CEO of MDHearingAid. Doug joined MDHearingAid after successful CEO roles at HomeFinder.com, EarthClassMail.com and Scripted.com. Doug's decades of experience... [ Learn More ]

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