For many of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, hearing aids are the preferred method of treatment. But despite the fact they can greatly improve communication and quality of life, only about one in five people who could benefit from hearing aids actually wears them. This is likely due to misconceptions about hearing aids, which is why we’re reviewing the basics of hearing aids below.
How Hearing Aids Work
Hearing aids work by amplifying sound in your environment to a level your ears can detect. While there are many different types and styles of hearing aids, they all have four basic parts:
- A microphone, which picks up the sounds around you.
- An amplifier, which processes and amplifies sounds based on your exact hearing needs.
- A receiver, which delivers the amplified sounds to your ears.
- A battery, which powers your hearing aids.
Hearing aids provide benefit for people with many types of hearing loss, including hearing loss caused by aging and noise exposure. While there is nothing you can do to stop the march of time, it’s important to protect your ears from loud noises, like wearing earplugs when attending a concert at The Fillmore.
Styles of Hearing Aids
There are many styles of hearing aids, which are selected based on your unique hearing loss, lifestyle needs and aesthetic preference.
- Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids: The electronics are housed in plastic casing behind the ear, which is connected to an earmold via a tube so sound can be channeled into your ear. This style is suitable for most degrees of hearing loss and is often recommended for children.
- In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids: The electronics are fully housed in a shell that sits in the bowl of the ear. They are easy to handle and suitable for people with dexterity issues.
- In-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids: These devices are nearly invisible, as they sit deep in the ear canal. They are the smallest devices on the market, and are suitable only for mild to moderate hearing loss.
Getting Your First Hearing Aids
The first step in getting a hearing aid is to schedule a hearing test with an audiologist. From there, your audiologist will recommend the best treatment option for you and help select and fit the hearing aids.
For more information or to schedule a hearing test, call the experts at San Francisco Audiology today.