Hearing Aid Basics

How Does a Hearing Aid Work?

Sound waves enter through a microphone, which converts the acoustic signals into electrical signals. An amplifier increases the strength of the electrical signal. From the amplifier, the signal is transformed back to an acoustical signal by the receiver (a mini loud speaker). From the receiver, the signal is channeled into the ear canal, either through a small tube or an ear mold. There are three main styles of hearing aids:

iteIn-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aid

ITE hearing aids fit directly into the external part of the ear and are custom made to fit the contours of your ear. Appealing shell styles combine improved cosmetics with optimal power and sound quality.

bteBehind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aid

BTE hearing aids are housed in a small curved case which fits behind the ear. A thin transparent tube is inserted directly into the ear canal. This reduces the “plugged up” sensation associated with some hearing aids. This type of hearing aid is also referred to as “open fit” since your ear canal is left open.

rieReceiver-in-the-Ear (RIE) hearing aid

RIE hearing aids are housed in a small case that fits in the ear. It naturally rests on the curve of the ear and is virtually invisible due to its discreet tube and receiver.

Advances in digital technology have dramatically improved hearing aids. They are now smaller than ever before with far better sound quality. Top-of-the-line models feature “directional” or “high definition” hearing. These devices use two microphones and an algorithm to enhance sound coming from the front (the person you are talking to), while tuning down sound coming from behind (background noise). Beltone’s state-of-the-art digital hearing aids include:

  • Multiple channels for better prescription fit
  • Automatic volume control to ensure sounds are never too loud and are reduced for comfort
  • Speech Pattern Detection and noise reduction to help you hear better in background noise
  • Anti-Feedback Control to reduce whistling
  • Wind Noise Suppression to help you better enjoy outdoor activities
  • Open fit technology to relieve feeling “plugged up”