Hearing Aids | American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

About Hearing Aids

Many people experience hearing loss. Hearing loss—whether mild, moderate, or severe—can cause communication problems at home, at work, and with friends. Hearing aids can be helpful for some types of hearing loss. Your audiologist can test your hearing and help find the best hearing aid for you. Not every hearing aid will work for every person. You may need a hearing aid in one or both ears.

Not all hearing aids are the same. They come in different styles and sizes. A hearing aid may fit completely or partly in your ear canal, sit in the outer part of your ear, or rest behind your ear. Different features are available to improve your hearing with the hearing aid. Your audiologist will consider your specific needs and goals when helping you choose the right style and features for your situation.

All hearing aids have

  • a microphone to pick up sound;
  • a way to make sound louder, called an amplifier;
  • a receiver that sends the louder sounds to your ear;
  • an on/off switch; and batteries.

Additional hearing aid features that may be helpful to you include

  • a directional microphone to pick up sounds from one specific direction;
  • a telephone (or telecoil) switch to help you hear and understand speech when using the telephone;
  • direct audio input to plug a microphone into your hearing aid for use with your TV, computer, or radio; and connection to personal Bluetooth devices like cellphones, tablets, and smart TVs.

Getting Used to Hearing Aids

It takes time to get used to hearing aids. Hearing aids can help you hear environmental sounds and communicate with others for a better quality of life. They do not cure hearing loss or return your hearing to normal.

Your audiologist can help you adjust to wearing your hearing aid and teach you what to expect. They can monitor your hearing aid on a regular basis, answer your questions, and make any adjustments that you need. They can recommend aural rehabilitation services to help you get the most out of your hearing aid. Some helpful hearing assistive technology options may also be available for use with your hearing aid.

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