How Hearing Aids Work – Overview
With so much technology packed in to your hearing instruments it would be fair to say they seem complicated. Here we break down in to simple terms the science behind the technology:
The Hearing Chip & Processor
This is the engine of how hearing aids work. The quality of this component is what makes the difference and will determine how well you’re able to hear. Manufacturers will typically have the same access to receivers and amplifiers however their hearing chips are how they develop their technology. They keep these a closely guarded secret. This component is where the incoming signals are fine tuned before they are delivered to you in order to help improve your hearing. Essentially these are like a supercharged mini computer. Just like computers the more memory the hearing chip has the more processes it can handle at the same time. This results in better quality hearing for the wearer.
Not all processors are the same. Even if two hearing aids look the same, if the processor is different, they will sound completely different. This will be the difference between achieving average hearing and amazing hearing.
Hearing Aid Microphones
The microphones pick up the incoming sounds from the environment, changing it to an electrical signal. They then deliver this signal to the processor.
They are extremely small and need to be very precise. It is very important to maintain these correctly to get the best from your hearing aids.
At Bailgate Hearing we see you every 6 months where we will clean your devices and check their performance. If your microphones can’t pick the sound up correctly the processor will struggle to do its job properly.
Receiver In the Canal (RIC) hearing aids account for over 80% of private hearing aids in the UK today. The wire runs from the top of the hearing aid to the receiver, which is inserted in to the ear. Covered by a rubber tip for comfort the receiver delivers the clear sound that has been processed by the hearing aid chip.
In the end of the receiver lies a small filter, it is important to clean and replace these regularly to ensure you are getting the best hearing.
Traditionally hearing aids have used disposable batteries however in recent years many manufacturers have developed rechargeable models. Lithium Ion is the gold standard in hearing aid rechargeability.
The convenience and ease of use for the user means that many private suppliers now use these as their number one choice for RIC products.
Hearing Aid Casing
This is the housing around the electronics. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes as well as many different colours.
Most hearing aid casings are waterproof these days. Whilst it is not recommended that you go swimming in them it does mean they will withstand getting caught in the rain, or even sweat from a workout in the gym.
How do we hear?
It’s great to know the science behind the hearing aid but how do our ears use it to hear better?
Let’s have a look at the anatomy of the ear and how it works:
Firstly sound is funnelled down our ear canal and causes our eardrum to vibrate. This sets off the mechanical action of 3 tiny bones in the middle ear which vibrate across the opening to our inner ear, or cochlea. The cochlea is essentially our hearing organ and it transfers the signal to our brain via the auditory nerve. Our brain then decodes these electrical impulses and enables us to hear.
With hearing loss it means that the signals are not being received by the brain. In a hearing test we check all the different frequencies so we can see how well your brain is receiving the signals. We then compare this against what is known as normal hearing thresholds for an average person.
For more information on types of hearing tests click here
Book a Hearing Assessment
By carrying out a hearing test we will be able to advise you if there is any hearing loss present. If you’re not hearing so well you will be able to take advantage of our FREE 14 day trial.
This will show you how a hearing aid can help to fill the gap between your hearing level and the world around you.
Hearing aid manufacturers are constantly researching and improving how they can improve clarity for those with hearing loss, bringing new innovations within their technology each year. Whilst hearing aids have been around for many years, it is only recent advancements in technology that have allowed us to fill that gap in an almost perfect way.