If you’re a Katy, Texas resident who has recently been diagnosed with hearing loss and new to the world of hearing aids, you no doubt have many questions as you navigate this new way of life. For starters, you may be curious how, exactly, hearing aids work. They aren’t magic, though they do have the capacity to greatly improve your quality of life.
Hearing Aid Components
Hearing aids are highly sophisticated electronic devices that help approximately 90 percent of patients diagnosed with hearing loss to communicate more effectively. Regardless of the style, size, or manufacturer, all hearing aids consist of three basic parts: a microphone, amplifier, and speaker. These components work in tandem to help you hear: sound waves enter the hearing aid through the microphone, where they are analyzed and converted into electronic signals. From there, the signals are transmitted to the amplifier, which boosts their power and makes them louder. The amplifier then sends these signals to the speaker, where they are directed into the inner ear via tubing or a thin wire. The brain processes these electronic impulses into recognizable sound.
Pretty cool, huh?
Additionally, there is a battery to power the hearing aid – either disposable or rechargeable, the latter of which are becoming increasingly common nowadays – as well as switches to control the power, volume level, programming, and more. Many hearing aids contain additional features such as wax guards, as well. Generally speaking, the more expensive the hearing aid, the more bells and whistles you are likely to find.
Hearing Aid Benefits
It’s important to understand that hearing aids do not cure hearing loss. But the amplified sounds they produce do provide benefit to a large majority of individuals with hearing loss by improving their hearing and speech comprehension. Those with sensorineural hearing loss – damage to the inner ear – receive the most benefit. This is the most common type of hearing loss, responsible for about 90 percent of cases.
Untreated hearing loss has been linked to a variety of physical, emotional, and social ailments, including:
- Memory impairment
- Concentration difficulties
- Isolation and social withdrawal
- Poor job performance
- Reduced earning power
Persons with hearing loss have an increased risk of developing serious health complications such as diabetes, kidney and heart disease, and dementia. On the other hand, studies show that treating hearing loss leads to improvements in a large number of areas including earning power, personal and professional relationships, self-confidence, mental and physical health, and overall quality of life.
If you or somebody you know is experiencing hearing loss, your Katy audiologist can help find a solution perfect for your needs.