A hearing aid is a battery operated, electronic device that amplifies and alters sound to allow for improved hearing. Sounds are received through a microphone which converts the sound waves to an electrical signal. An amplifier increases the volume of the signal and transmits the sound through a speaker in the ear canal.
A hearing aid contains one of three types of electronic circuitry: digital, programmable analogue or conventional analogue.
Digital devices are the most advanced solution on the market today. They are programmed using a computer. Digital instruments offer the greatest flexibility for matching individual hearing requirements and filtering out unwanted sounds. Performance of these devices can change with listening needs. For example, they can analyze surrounding sounds to maximize soft speech while minimizing background noises like traffic.
Programmable analogue circuitry allows the hearing instrument to be matched to the user’s comfort and preferences. They allow for adjustments to hearing needs over time as the device can be reprogrammed to meet the user’s changing hearing condition.
Conventional analogue circuitry offers few automatic features and limited flexibility. The hearing instrument is not programmable and volume is adjusted manually. Soft and loud noises are treated the same, so both speech and background noise is amplified.
All Hearing Aids include:
- a microphone to pick up sounds
- an amplifier to make sounds louder
- a receiver to send the louder signals to the eardrum
- a battery to act as the power source.