What is a Hearing aid
A hearing aid is a small electronic device that you wear in or behind your ear. It makes some sounds louder so that a person with hearing loss can listen, communicate, and participate more fully in daily activities. A hearing aid can help people hear more in both quiet and noisy situations. However, only about one out of five people who would benefit from a hearing aid actually uses one.
A hearing aid has three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. The hearing aid receives sound through a microphone, which converts the sound waves to electrical signals and sends them to an amplifier. The amplifier increases the power of the signals and then sends them to the ear through a speaker.
How can hearing aids help?
Hearing aids are primarily useful in improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss that results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, called hair cells. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. The damage can occur as a result of disease, aging, or injury from noise or certain medicines.
Different Styles of Hearing Aids
In-the-Canal (ITC) and Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) Aids
These aids are contained in a tiny case that fits partly or completely into the ear canal. They are the smallest aids available and offer some cosmetic and listening advantages.
In-the-Ear (ITE) Aids
All parts of the aid are contained in a shell that fills in the outer part of the ear. These aids are larger than canal aids and, for some people, may be easier to handle than smaller aids.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) Aids
All parts of the aid are contained in a small plastic case that rests behind the ear. The case is connected to an earmold by a piece of clear tubing. This style is often chosen for young children for safety and growth reasons.
Behind-the-Ear Aid: Open Fitting
A small plastic case rests behind the ear, and a very fine clear tube runs into the ear canal. Inside the ear canal, a small, soft silicone dome or a molded, highly vented acrylic tip holds the tube in place.
These aids look very similar to the behind-the-ear hearing aid with a unique difference: the speaker of the hearing aid is placed inside the ear canal, and thin electrical wires replace the acoustic tube of the BTE aid.
Extended Wear Hearing Aids
These aids are devices that are nonsurgically placed in the ear canal by an audiologist. They are worn up to several months at a time without removal. The devices are made of soft material designed to fit the curves of the ear. They are worn continuously and then replaced with a new device.
Middle Ear Implants
These hearing systems implanted in the space behind the eardrum that mechanically vibrate the middle ear structures. This device has two parts: an external portion and an implanted portion. There are also hearing aids called CROS aids that route sounds coming to one ear over to the other ear. These devices are for use by individuals who have no hearing in one ear. In special cases, hearing aids can be built into glasses for individuals who need that type of fitting..