Hearing aids make sounds louder so that you can hear them better. Small microphones collect sounds from the environment. A computer chip converts the incoming sound into digital code. Then it analyzes and adjusts the sound based on your hearing loss, listening needs and the level of the sounds around you. The signals are then converted back into sound waves and delivered to your ears through speakers.
Some hearing aid optional features improve your ability to hear in specific situations:
These are aligned on the hearing aid to provide for improved pick up of sounds coming from in front of you with some reduction of sounds coming from behind or beside you. Some hearing aids are capable of focusing on one direction. Directional microphones can improve your ability to hear when you’re in an environment with a lot of background noise.
Telephone adapters (telecoils)
These make it easier to hear when talking on a telecoil-compatible telephone. The telecoil eliminates the sounds from your environment and only picks up the sounds from the telephone. Some hearing aids switch automatically when the phone is held up to the hearing aid. And some aids send the phone signal to the other ear so that you can hear the phone in both ears when holding the phone over one hearing aid.
Increasingly, hearing aids can wirelessly interface with certain Bluetooth-compatible devices, such as cellphones, music players and televisions. You may need to use an intermediary device to pick up the phone or other signal and send it to the hearing aid.
Some hearing aids come with a remote control, so you can adjust features without touching the hearing aid.
Direct audio input
This feature allows you to plug in to audio from a television, a computer, a music device and so on.
Some hearing aids can store several preprogrammed settings for various listening needs and environments.
For an individual with two hearing aids, the aids can be programmed to function together so that adjustments made to a hearing aid on one ear (volume control or program changes) will also be made on the other aid, allowing for simpler control.