All About Hearing Aids | WebMD

What Are Hearing Aids?

Hearing aids are small devices that go in or behind your ear. These electronic gadgets make certain sounds louder so that you can hear better if you have hearing loss.

Hearing loss can have a big impact on your life, from your work to your relationships and emotional well-being. Hearing aids can make a big difference, especially if you pick the right ones and get help adjusting to them.

Hearing aid vs. cochlear implant

A cochlear implant is also an electronic device. Part of it sits behind your ear. But it also has a part implanted under your skin. A hearing aid works by making sounds louder so that your ear can pick them up. Cochlear implants skip past the damaged part of your ear and work directly on your auditory nerves. The process of hearing with a cochlear implant is different.

How Hearing Aids Help

Hearing aids may help you hear better when it’s quiet and when it’s noisy. Here are the basic parts and how they work:

  • A microphone. This picks up sound around you.
  • An amplifier. This makes the sound louder.
  • A receiver. This sends the sounds into your ear.

Not everyone with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. But only 1 in 5 people who could have improvement wear them. Most of the time, they’re for people who have damage to their inner ear or the nerve that links the ear with the brain. These are some of the things that can cause damage:

  • Disease
  • Aging
  • Loud noises
  • Medications
  • Trauma to the head or ear
  • Ear wax buildup
  • Poor nutrition
  • Viral infections

Hearing loss caused by problems with the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear is called conductive hearing loss. Usually, surgery or other medical help can make it better. But those options aren’t right for everyone. Some people are born without an external ear or ear canal, which means they can’t use a typical hearing aid.

Click below to learn more: