How Do Hearing Aids Work?


People who have never been diagnosed with hearing loss probably haven’t given hearing aids much thought. Even those in Portland and across the country who wear hearing aids might take them for granted in much the way we accept the fact that the sun will always rise and there will never be a shortage of funny cat videos on the internet. Hearing aids are very sophisticated devices, and if you or a loved one wears them, knowing how they work will help give you an appreciation for their workhorse abilities and the way they change people’s lives for the better.

Components of a Hearing Aid

Sound waves

Hearing aids come in a wide range of sizes and styles and are available with numerous options and features. Regardless of how simple or fancy they are, all hearing aids consist of three basic components: a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound waves enter the hearing aid through the microphone, which analyzes and converts them into electronic signals. These are transmitted to the amplifier, which boosts their power and increases their volume. The signals are then sent to the speaker and directed into the inner ear via tubing or a thin wire. The brain processes these digital signals into recognizable sound. If you’ve ever heard the phrase “you hear with your ears and your brain,” you can probably understand why this is true!

Hearing aids also require a power source, either a disposable or rechargeable battery. There are buttons and dials to control the power, volume, programming, and other features. Options such as Bluetooth® for wireless connectivity are becoming increasingly popular, too.

Benefits of Hearing Aids

If you suffer from hearing loss in Portland, you should know that hearing aids won’t cure your condition. However, amplification is hugely beneficial to most Oregonians contending with hearing loss. Hearing aids improve hearing and speech comprehension, not to mention overall quality of life.

They reduce your risk of developing physical, psychological, or social complications from untreated hearing loss, which include:

  • Depression
  • Memory impairment
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Isolation and social withdrawal
  • Poor job performance
  • Reduced earning power
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Dementia
  • Cardiovascular disease

Consumer satisfaction with hearing aids continues to increase and is currently at an all-time high of 78.6 percent. Users report improvements in many aspects of their daily lives, including self-confidence, relationships with others, earning power, and overall quality of life.

Understanding how hearing aids work is good, but what’s most important is the knowledge that they can help you enjoy a much better life. If you or a loved one is experiencing hearing loss in Portland, schedule an appointment with an audiologist today.