Hearing Aids

What you need to know about hearing aids

Hearing aids are small, battery-operated electronic devices that assist people with many types of hearing loss, by amplifying and altering sounds to make up for damaged parts in the ear. A microphone receives the sound and amplifies it, allowing the user to hear human speech at a comfortable volume. This may require some time to adjust to the new signals received by the brain. Hearing aids must be small enough to fit inside or behind the ear, run with very low power and introduce no noise or distortion. Hearing aids are the best solution to a sensorineural hearing loss.

Hearing aids do not restore hearing to normal, but usually improve hearing back to about one-half of the loss. Hearing aids are typically worn on the outside of the ear by people who still have some natural hearing. Cochlear implants are surgically implanted into the ear and pick up lost middle- and higher-frequency sounds. Hearing aids can sometimes cause chafing, but you can get ear gear made from a soft spandex material, which makes hearing instruments more comfortable to wear.

Types of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids come in four basic types, which are:

Modern Hearing Aids

Today's hearing aids are much better in their ability to amplify sound when compared to the models made 10 or 15 years ago. The technology is so advanced that people often are overwhelmed by all the different hearing aid memory programs they must learn in order to use them properly. Hearing aid fitting has become more reputable and professional.

Hearing Aid Prices

Hearing aids vary in price just as they vary in type and style. It's only natural to assume that the more complicated a hearing aid is, the more expensive it will be. As many as 80 percent of elderly people who might benefit from hearing aids don't wear them, likely because they are expensive and initially difficult to learn how to use. The latest digital programmable hearing aids cost about $5,000 for both ears.