What are hearing aids?

Hearing aids are tiny electronic devices placed inside or behind the ear. Its role is to amplify normal sounds to the extent that the deaf or hearing impaired can hear them clearly. This enables them to communicate with others and participate effectively in normal daily activities. Yet, a large proportion of those who need it (80%) doesn’t use it in the first place.

Why do we need to use hearing aids?

Hearing aids are very important for both young and old deaf people because they restore a very important sense that helps them do the following:

  • Develop speaking and language skills in young children
  • Amplify ordinary sounds so that the deaf can hear them, interact with them, and lead their lives normally
  • Help the patient to hear at least important warnings and danger alerts

Components of hearing aids


It picks up external sounds and converts them into electrical energy.


Its role is to amplify and double that power.


It converts electrical energy into sound energy after being amplified.

Source of energy

This supplies the devices with the needed energy so they can function normally.

Control device

 It is used to increase and decrease the tone.

Who should use the hearing aids?

Not all deaf patients can wear hearing aids to restore their full sense of hearing. These aids give the best results in patients with deafness caused by damage to the inner ear (cochlear) cells called “hair cells”.

Damage to these cells can occur as a result of disease, aging, injury from an accident, or certain medications such as antibiotics from the group of “amino-glycosides”.

A few healthy hair cells that have escaped damage can pick up the high vibration waves emitted by the artificial hearing aid. Then these cells convert them into nerve signals and send them to the brain, as happens in a normal person.

The more the number of damaged cells increases, the more amplifying power is required in the hearing aid. But there are limits to the amplification power that cannot be crossed. Therefore, if the percentage of damage to the cochlear cells is very large, artificial hearing aids will not help.

Types of hearing aids

There are two main types of hearing aids: air conduction and ear bones conduction. There are other types that fall under the first category such as those that can be placed around the ear and those that can be placed inside the ear.

As for classifying the hearing aids according to where they are placed, we can state the following: 

Behind-the-ear hearing aids 

They consist of a hard plastic cover that the patient wears behind his ear. This cover is attached to another piece that is placed inside the auditory canal (outer ear). All the electronic parts are placed behind the ear.

 This type is suitable for all ages and all levels of hearing impairment. There is a newer version of this type with a smaller size. Its inner part is a fine tube that is easily installed in the auditory canal and does not cause it to close completely. Therefore,  it is most suitable for patients who suffer from excessive accumulation of wax.

In-ear hearing aids

This type is completely installed inside the outer ea. It is suitable for patients with mild and moderate cases of hearing impairment. Its cover is made of hard plastic. 

There are newer versions of this type that have additions such as the electromagnetic file that makes the patient receive sound through the device’s circuits rather than a microphone. This makes the reception of sound over the phone and in crowded areas much better.

Hearing aids installed inside the auditory canal

These hearing aids are installed only inside the auditory canal. There are two types of them. The first fills the entire auditory canal. But the second is small and hides inside the canal. It is not visible to others. Both types are suitable for patients with mild, medium, and high levels of hearing impairment

Best brands of hearing aids

There are many companies that produce hearing aids in the market, and we cannot claim that a particular brand is better than the other. But professional practitioners, based on their experience with patients with hearing impairment, say that the hearing aids made in Denmark are excellent in terms of quality, performance, and results.

Analog hearing aids

 They work by converting sound waves into electrical signals and then amplifying them in an analog (the opposite of digital) way. These devices are adjusted by the manufacturer according to the doctor’s recommendation for each patient with a system of use which is different from that of another patient, as these aids have more than one programming system. 

The audiologist can reset the hearing aid using the computer. Also, some companies allow the patient to adjust the device according to the surrounding environment, such as being in crowded places, (e.g. stadium mode) quiet places, etc

Digital hearing aids

 These devices convert sound waves into digital codes similar to the binary codes used in computers. Then the sound is amplified. Because the coding system, in this case, can fetch information about the intensity of the sound, the hearing aids can be set to amplify some sound frequencies and ignore others. This gives digital aids more flexibility than analog ones and makes them suitable for treating patients with different types of hearing impairment.

Things to know before buying hearing aids

Before buying hearing aids, you should know the following:

  • Specific features that should exist in the hearing aid according to my state and hearing abilities
  • Price and the final cost of the hearing aid, including maintenance. In addition, you should decide whether any new versions of these devices are worth paying for or not. In many cases we see patients buying new gadgets without benefiting from any added value. Instead, they pay more money for devices with the same features as the previous ones.
  • Trial period, refunds, and returns: make sure the seller has a trial period, refund and return policies in his deals. In fact, most companies give the customer a trial period of 30-60 days, after which he can return the device and get his money back, either in full or minus some fees. Sometimes, you cannot be given a refund, but you can have your devices replaced with new ones.
  • Warranty period: ask the vendor if they give any warranty period or not and whether it can be extended or not in case they have one. Besides,  it is your right to know whether the warranty period covers maintenance and repair expenses or not.
  • Repair and maintenance: make sure there is the possibility to make necessary adjustments and repairs in case of a malfunctioning of the device. Also, make sure it is possible to give you alternative aids during the period of adjustment and repair.

As for the prices of hearing aids, there is a great discrepancy in the markets. The prices increase whenever the manufacturers add new technological functionalities and user options to these devices. But in general, the prices of analog hearing aids are much cheaper than those of digital ones.

Hearing aids problems and ways to overcome them

It is worth mentioning that hearing-impaired patients need some time to get used to the hearing aids and learn how to use them correctly, change batteries, etc. To get the best results and avoid any damage to devices, they should listen carefully to their doctor’s advice, and why not do online research to gather some information about the products they will be using.

Below, you will find some common problems faced by patients and how to get rid of them.

Discomfort while wearing the hearing aids

 Some patients find it difficult to cope with the devices and feel some pain or discomfort while putting them in the ear. This problem gradually disappears over time. To fix the problem, they should ask the doctor as soon as possible.

High pitch of the voice (very loud voice)

 This is medically called the “closure effect” and occurs because the devices completely close the ear. So the patient hears his personal voice unpleasantly loud, and it may require a visit to the doctor again to reset the frequencies.

Hearing a whistling or echoing sound

 Some hearing aids make a rebounding whistling sound with each wave. The reason is that they are not tuned well or because of the accumulation of earwax in them. The solution is to visit an audiologist to reset them.

Hearing a buzzing sound while talking on a mobile phone

 This is one of the common problems caused by the interference of mobile phone waves. Mobile phone companies and hearing aids manufacturers are working to solve the problem. But we recommend taking your phone with you on the day of purchase so as to adjust the devices, test the voice calls, their quality, and try to adjust them to get the best solution.

Finally, we have tried in the above article to tackle the issue of using hearing aids in an exhaustive way. Maybe, we have missed some points related to the topic. If that is the case, don’t hesitate to leave me a comment in the box below. We will do our best to answer your questions.

Thanks for your reading.

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