What Are Hearing Aids?

By AOO on January 22, 2021 under Hearing, Hearing Aids

What Are Hearing Aids?

While hearing aids are relatively common, many patients have the same questions about them when they are starting out with hearing loss treatment. During an appointment at Associates of Otolaryngology and Harvard Park Hearing  and we can answer any questions you may have. However, you can also learn more before your appointment, so you feel better prepared to make an informed decision about hearing aids.

What is a Hearing Aid?

A hearing aid is a small device that is worn either in or behind the ear to help you hear. Hearing aids amplify sounds so that it is easier for you to hear them, making communication and everyday activities much easier. Hearing aids are composed of three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. Sound is received through the microphone, then converted to electrical signals and sent to the amplifier. The amplifier then increases the volume of these sounds based off of your hearing loss, which are sent directly to the ear through the speaker.

There are several different styles of hearing aids, each of which is named after the way the hearing aid fits in or around the ear. These include:

  • Behind-the-ear (BTE)
  • In-the-ear (ITE)
    • Canal, which may be in-the-canal (ITC) or completely-in-canal (CIC) (we consider these types of devices to be under the category of ITE)


How Can Hearing Aids Help Me?

Hearing aids are programmed specifically for your unique hearing loss. They will bring soft sounds back into your environment and help to clarify speech. The most common type of hearing loss is caused by damaged sensory cells in the inner ear, which may occur as a result of aging, disease, noise exposure, or certain medications. When the hearing aid amplifies sound, surviving and healthy sensory cells can detect them more easily.

Some hearing loss patients are not well-suited to hearing aids if the damage to their inner ear is too severe. Your doctor will evaluate your hearing loss and determine whether hearing aids would help you hear.

What Type of Hearing Aid is Best for Me?

Generally speaking, choosing the correct hearing aid for a patient depends on the severity of their hearing loss. You may need just one hearing aid to sufficiently improve your hearing, or two may be necessary.

In addition to the severity of your hearing loss, choosing the correct type of hearing aids depends on your lifestyle and budget. During your appointment, you and your audiologist will work together to determine a hearing aid style that suits your needs best. The hearing aid that works best for you may not be the most expensive option, and financing is often available.

Once the correct hearing aids have been selected for you, your audiologist will help you program the devices based off of your specific hearing loss, and further adjust them based on your comfort and individual needs. When someone is first fit with hearing aids, it may take some time for the brain to acclimate to all of the new sounds. As you get used to your new hearing aids, you may initially feel that it is slightly uncomfortable or that your own voice sounds too loud. These experiences are common, and your audiologist will help to ease you into the process so that you are successful with your new hearing aids.

Some common problems that you may encounter when you have new hearing aids could include feedback, excessive background noise, or a buzzing sound when you use a cell phone. These are easily fixable and if you experience these problems, ask your audiologist to adjust the hearing aids to resolve them.

Schedule an Appointment

If you think you may benefit from hearing aids, schedule an appointment at Associates of Otolaryngology in Denver, Lone Tree, and Castle Rock, CO. Call (720) 897-7160 or request an appointment online to get started.