Hearing aids work by capturing sound and making the sound louder.
What is a hearing aid?
Hearing aids work by capturing sound, making the sound louder, and sending the sound down the ear canal, through the middle ear to the inner ear where the hearing nerves are.
Who can they help?
Hearing aids are most helpful for people with mild to moderate hearing loss that may have been caused by:
- damage to sensory cells in normal aging
- exposure to loud noise
- reactions to drugs
- genetic factors (inherited from a family member).
How do they work?
Hearing aids make sounds louder. There are many types and styles of hearing aids to choose from, but all have similar parts:
- a miniature battery that powers the hearing aid
- a microphone that picks up the sounds
- an amplifier that makes the sound louder
- a speaker that sends the amplified sound into the outer ear.
Some hearing aids have a digital processor that might help cancel out feedback (whistling) or change the sound to make it sound better.
With the help of a hearing professional, you can have a hearing aid custom-made to:
- your level of hearing loss
- the shape of your ear
- common sound settings such as the classroom, restaurant and listening to music.
What are the benefits of a hearing aid?
Many people with hearing aids report that their hearing aid:
- helps them to hear and understand speech better in most situations
- allows them to participate in group situations and meetings
- helps them to hear soft or gentle sounds they may not have heard since their hearing loss.
What about when my hearing gets worse?
Special equipment is available that interfaces with common acoustic devices or environments to optimise your hearing experience. These assistive listening devices (ALDs) can be used with some types of hearing aids, or with Cochlear™ Baha®, Nucleus® or Hybrid™ devices. Many can be used independent of these hearing devices for people with normal hearing or mild hearing loss. ALDs can help with the following scenarios
- telephone conversations – ALDs can be attached to telephones to make sounds from the speaker louder, or can be connected directly or wirelessly (using T-coil) to Cochlear hearing products
- listening to music – ALDs can connect music players or even sounds in specially-equipped theatres directly to Cochlear hearing products
- watching TV
- classroom lectures
- hearing public address systems
- and many other everyday situations.