Aids > Basics
However, this site is not a medical resource. Insofar as you have questions regarding either your own or someone else's hearing impairment or condition, you should first and foremost consult a licensed medical specialist. As discussed in the subsequent pages, hearing problems can arise from a variety of causes and only a properly trained and certified medical specialist has the requisite knowledge to diagnose and treat a particular condition.
Why is a consumer's guide to hearing aids necessary at all? The truth is that we live in a world of hidden marketing agendas where sales pitches often wear the guise of expertise and objectivity. This problem is particularly acute for products that require a significant degree of detailed knowledge that most consumers do not possess. As hearing aid technology has become increasingly complex and the number of device manufacturers has grown, it has become more difficult for the consumer to identify the optimal product for his or her needs.
Our goal is to provide consumers with information that will enable them to better understand the hearing aid marketplace. The information presented on this site has been carefully culled from a variety of sources, including expert analyses, consumer reviews, third party reports, research abstracts, and brand manufacturer pages. However, given the amount of data that is out there and the speed with which hearing technology is evolving, no single source is going to contain all of the relevant information. Therefore, this site should be viewed as just one resource out of many and the viewpoints presented here as simply one set of opinions.
With that in mind, let us consider the basics of a hearing aid. At its essence, a hearing aid is an electronic device that amplifies external sounds, thereby enabling individuals who suffer from hearing loss to pick up sounds that they would otherwise not hear. The hearing aid is not a replacement for healthy hearing and it does not restore the ear to its original function. Rather, the hearing aid represents a life-enhancing alternative.
Sound amplification can be viewed as a three-step process that consists of first, capturing the original sound, second, amplifying it, and third, transmitting the amplified sound into the ear of the user. Consequently, a hearing aid must have the three components necessary to perform each of these three steps, namely: a microphone, an electronic circuit, and a speaker. In addition, a battery is required in order to power all of these components.
Over time, the electric circuit has become increasingly more complex in order to handle a broader set of user needs and a wider range of listening environments. Analog hearing aids have been largely replaced by digital devices which bring all of the power and intelligence of modern computing to the underlying problem of sound processing and amplification. The modern hearing aid houses all of the necessary components in a device that is sufficiently small to be inserted into the ear canal and rendered virtually invisible to the outside world.
However, this extreme level of miniaturization has only been possible as a result of advances in a range of component manufacturing and digital computing technologies. For much of the time since their invention, hearing aids have been bulky, visible, and uncomfortable devices which made individuals suffering from hearing loss often ambivalent about the prospect of using them.
The latest hearing aid products are able to process sounds with remarkable sophistication and bring users ever closer to a natural listening experience. At the same time, the units are sufficiently small and discreet as to make external detection difficult. These advances have made it possible for individuals suffering from hearing loss to effectively mitigate and mask their impairment, taking part in both professional and personal activities with much the same capability as their unimpaired peers.
These are the basics of hearing aids. Please explore other topics available on our site. In the meantime, if this information has been helpful to you, we would greatly appreciate it if you would support us by recommending our site to other users on Google. You can do so by simply clicking this button: