What is a hearing aid?
A hearing aid is a small electronic device placed behind or in your ear to help you hear sounds better. It contains a small microphone, amplifier and speaker. The microphone receives sound and changes it into an electrical signal. The amplifier increases the loudness of the signal. The speaker receives the signal, changes it back to sound waves and transmits the sound waves to your inner ear. A hearing aid is used by people who have mild or moderate hearing loss. While a hearing aid can help you hear better, you may not be able to hear perfectly even with an aid. Even using hearing aids, you still may have trouble hearing well when there is noise around you, such as in a restaurant or at a concert.
Types of hearing aids
Your audiologist will talk to you about the type of hearing aid that would be best for you. The type of aid may depend on the type of hearing loss you have and other factors. When choosing a hearing aid, pick an aid that helps you hear as well as possible. Avoid choosing a hearing aid just because it cannot be seen in your ear.
The following are types of hearing aids:
- Behind the ear: A small plastic case rests behind your ear. This is connected to a tube that goes to a mold in your ear. A mold is a small plastic piece that fits into your ear. Feedback is not often a problem with this aid. It has larger controls and dials, so may be better than other aids if you cannot use your fingers well when working with small objects. This aid may fall off when you are active, and it is hard to use with headphones.
- In the ear: This small plastic case fits into your outer ear. It fits securely and may not be as easy to see as some other hearing aids. You will need to be able to do small tasks with your fingers to use this hearing aid.
- In the ear canal: A very small plastic case fits half way into the ear canal. This aid is well-hidden in your ear. You will need to be able to do small tasks with your fingers to use this hearing aid. Using a telephone may be hard. This type of aid can be damaged by earwax or drainage.
- Completely in the ear canal: This is a tiny plastic case that fits entirely into the ear canal and is very hard to see. It is easy to use with headphones and the telephone, and has less wind noise. You will need to be able to do small tasks with your fingers to use this hearing aid. This type of aid can be damaged by earwax or drainage.
Caring for hearing aids
Ask an audiologist to talk to you about the following:
- A warranty for the aid and insurance in case it is lost or broken
- Changing the volume of the hearing aid (if needed)
- Charging and changing the batteries in the hearing aid. Batteries may need to be changed every 1 to 2 weeks.
- Cleaning and care of the hearing aid
- Putting in and taking out the hearing aid
- Turning the aid on and off
- Using the remote control and memory (if the aid has these features)
- Using the telephone with the aid in place
For more information about DMC Sinai-Grace Hospital’s audiology and hearing services or to make an appointment, call 313-966-4725.