Hearing aids are complex devices that comprise multiple parts which will differ between hearing aid styles. Though most devices are made up of the same, or similar, hearing aid parts, they each serve an important function in assisting you to hear the world around you clearer, crisper, and better.
You might at some point have wondered what the various hearing aid parts are and what purposes they serve. Here is a full breakdown of hearing aid parts and their functions across the most popular hearing aid styles.
Hearing Aid Parts
All hearing aids have three main components that serve as the foundation of any hearing aid; the microphone, the amplifier, and the power source. Understand that when we talk about “amplifiers” here, it is simply a broad term to describe the part of hearing aid that is responsible for enhancing the audio that the microphone receives. The “amplifier” in this case is simply where the external sound is processed.
Depending on the style of the hearing aid - behind-the-ear (BTE) or in-the-ear (ITE) - the components will differ slightly. The main difference between these two is that BTE devices use a wire or tube to send the processed audio signal into your ear canal and the main body sits behind the ear, whereas the body of the ITE device is housed within the ear canal directly.
Internal Hearing Aid Parts
The hearing aid parts that we will look at below are housed within the body of the hearing aid, across both BTE and ITE devices.
An integral part of a hearing aid, the microphone is responsible for picking up the sounds around you and sending it to the amplifier to process. Thanks to the advancement in hearing aid technology, some microphones (such as those in Go Hearing’s range of devices) are able to distinguish between background noise and speech, which offers a superior hearing experience.
The enhanced microphone allows wearers to follow conversations with more ease, especially in noisy environments and even more so if combined with noise suppression features.
The amplifier is responsible for processing audio that is sent by the microphone and typically converts the sound into electrical signals to be sent to the receiver, or speaker, of the hearing aid. Depending on the degree of hearing loss, the power of the amplifier will differ, with more severe hearing loss requiring more amplification.
If you’re wondering if you have a hearing loss, or want to gauge what degree of hearing loss you may have, you can take this free online hearing screener.
Since hearing aids are electrical devices, they require some type of power source in order to power the internal hearing aid parts. Hearing aids are powered by batteries, which will vary on the size of the hearing aid, the amount of power that it requires, as well as whether or not it is rechargeable.
The most common batteries for a hearing aid that uses replaceable batteries are 312 zinc-air batteries. Replaceable batteries can be quite convenient, when the battery dies you simply replace the battery and carry on. Rechargeable hearing aids typically use a built-in lithium-ion battery that you would need to use the compatible charging system for. The main benefit of rechargeable batteries is that you never have to worry about carrying or replacing batteries. As long as you have the charging case with you, you’re good to go!
External Hearing Aid Parts
These specific hearing aids are what you would find outside of the hearing aid body, but some parts will only be applicable to either a BTE or ITE device.
Most hearing aids, especially BTE devices, will have a button or switch on the body of the hearing aid. These buttons, or switches, can be programmed to serve a suite of different functions, including volume control or program settings. They could even serve dual purposes depending on whether or not you single press or hold the button/switch in for a set amount of time.
Once the amplifier has processed the sound, it is then sent to the receiver, also known as a speaker, to be sent into your ear. This part usually sits within the dome or earmould that sits within your ear canal, but there are some cases where it may be placed just outside the body of the hearing aid.
In the case of hearing aids that cater to those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss (such as Go Hearing), the end of the hearing aid that is inserted into the ear will be fitted with a dome. There are two main types of domes, namely; open and closed. Open domes allow more airflow through the ear which results in a more natural hearing experience. Closed domes typically seal the ear canal, which could be helpful for those who struggle with hearing in noisy environments.
They are typically made from silicone for prolonged comfort, and their primary purpose is to ensure that the tube/body of the hearing aid remains firmly and comfortably in your ear, to deliver the processed sounds. There are various sizes as well to accommodate everyone’s unique ear canal.
Hearing aid parts will differ according to different types of hearing aids, as well as your individual lifestyle preferences and hearing requirements. However, these are the essential parts necessary for a hearing aid, no matter its size or type.
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