How do hearing aids work?

Common questions about hearing aids

Different types of hearing aids

Hearing aids fill the gap created by a hearing loss by receiving and amplifying sound. While there are many different types of hearing aid technology, four basic components are common to them all:

  1. A microphone which receives sound and translates it into electrical impulses;
  2. An amplifier which makes those electrical impulses stronger;
  3. A receiver (speaker) which translates those stronger impulses into louder sounds;
  4. A battery, which serves as a power source for the whole system.

Hearing aids vary widely in their styles, sizes and levels of circuit technology.

When should I consider hearing aids?

As soon as you notice that you are not hearing as well as you used to. It is better to start wearing hearing aids sooner rather than later. Generally speaking, the longer you leave it, the longer it takes to get used to wearing hearing aids.

What about the complaints I have heard about hearing aids?

It is true there are several concerns that are sometimes mentioned by hearing aid users. Read about four of the most common here.

What happens if my hearing aid needs servicing?

The hearing aid has a comprehensive one or two-year manufacturer warranty. It is also covered by a 30-day ‘no-quibble’ money back guarantee of satisfaction. We operate a system of regular reviews which includes a check-up of your hearing and your hearing aid.

How do I know if a hearing aid will help me?

The vast majority of people with hearing loss will benefit from wearing hearing aids. After the hearing assessment it is usually possible to give some indication of the likely level of benefit.

How long will it take to get used to wearing my hearing aids?

Common questions about hearing aids

It takes time to get used to wearing hearing aids, especially if you have lived with hearing loss for a long time. With normal hearing the brain is able to focus on the sounds that we want to listen to, while filtering out distracting background noise. As hearing deteriorates the brain loses this ability to focus.

When you first wear a hearing aid the brain is suddenly bombarded with lots of sound that it has not heard for some time. It takes a little while for the brain to re-learn how to focus and filter these noises again.

Background noise can be distracting at first, but it will get better as the brain regains its ability to focus. This process of adjustment can take some people a few weeks while for others it may take longer. The important thing is to persevere while gradually increasing the amount of time you spend wearing the hearing aids.

Will my hearing aids amplify sounds and damage my hearing?

Your hearing aid will be preset to a safe level of maximum amplification. However, keep in mind that you may have to re-accustom yourself to loud startling sounds as they are amplified by your hearing aid.

Do I need one or two hearing aids?

Experts agree that if you have a hearing loss in both ears you will get most benefit if you wear two hearing aids. Wearing two aids will help you to identify the direction that sounds are coming from and will reduce the time it takes to get used to wearing hearing aids. Read more.

What sort of changes or adaptations are necessary?

First, you need to understand that it is not possible for a hearing aid to completely restore your hearing. What it can do is enhance sound and thus allow you to hear better. Since hearing loss is gradual, over the years you may have become unaccustomed to normal sounds such as traffic noise or background conversation.

Therefore, when you begin to wear hearing aids it is necessary to re-educate your brain to practise selective listening and learn once again to choose only those sounds which you wish to hear and ignore the rest.

Patience is the key

Common questions about hearing aids

Friends and family can help

It is important that you wear your hearing aids as much as possible. This is the best way for you to get used to them and the way that they will work. This also helps you become more skilled at recognising sound direction, learning what hearing aid settings work best in different situations and using visual clues in different hearing environments.

Patience is the key and your friends and family can be very helpful in the whole process. Encourage them to speak to you in a normal voice without over-enunciating or over-emphasising their lip movements. If, for some reason, you continue to find the adjustment to be difficult your hearing aid dispenser will be happy to answer any questions which you may have and help you solve any of your hearing-related problems.

For any further help or advice please contact our freephone helpline 0800 028 6179 to speak to one of our audiologists