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How Hearing Aids Work

Hearing aids are designed to bring sound more effectively into the ear. Most hearing aids consist of at least four parts:

  • Microphone
    Converts external sound waves into electrical energy which is delivered to the amplifier
  • Amplifier
    Increases the strength of the incoming signal as programmed by the professional
  • Receiver
    Converts the amplified electrical energy back into sound waves and delivers them to the ear
  • Power Source
    Provides energy for the various hearing aid functions

Other common parts include:

  • Telecoil
    Picks up electromagnetic fields from the telephone to allow for a clearer signal with less background interference and no feedback. Telecoils are often compatible with many assistive listening systems, such as those found in concert halls or theaters.
  • Volume control
    Allows adjustment of gain.
  • Toggle button
    Allows user to change between programs or settings on a multimemory device.
  • Remote control
    Allows user to change gain or programs, and some allow direct input of audio devices.
  • Directional microphone
    Amplifies sound from the front more than the sides and rear. This feature is very useful in understanding speech in noisy situations.

by Carol Hawkins

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