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While hearing aids cannot restore your hearing to normal, properly selected and well-fitting hearing aids can help you hear much better. Altru's Hearing Center has audiologists on staff who can provide services for children and adults.

How a Hearing Aid Works

  1. The microphone picks up sound from the environment, converts it into an electrical signal, and it is sent to the amplifier.
  2. An amplifier increases the volume of the sound (based on the amount of hearing loss) and sends it to the receiver.
  3. The receiver changes the electrical signal back into sound and sends it to the ear.
  4. The ear converts the sound wave to nerve impulses.
  5. The auditory nerve sends those impulses to the brain.
  6. The brain interprets these nerve impulses.

Selecting a Hearing Aid

Many options, brands and styles of hearing aids are available. Your audiologist will guide you through the process to find the most appropriate, well-fitting hearing aid for you. Factors that go into choosing a particular hearing aide include:

Physical Factors:

  • Degree of hearing loss
  • Physiology: shape and size of the outer ear and ear canal
  • One or two: human hearing is designed for two ears, known as binaural listening. In almost all cases, patients benefit most from wearing two hearing aids.
  • Connectivity: modern hearing aids are smart and can stream speech, videos and music directly to the ears.
  • Tinnitus feature: many hearing aids now have built-in tinnitus solutions and integrated apps to assist in tinnitus therapy treatments.

Personal Factors:

  • Cosmetics: how hearing aids look on the ears is a common concern; hearing aids are available in many sizes, shapes and color options that can match skin tone or hair color.
  • Lifestyle: hearing aids are durable and coated to protect again water, ear wax and sweat.
  • Price: hearing aids are available in a variety of price ranges; improved technology and features can add to cost but, in return, may improve the sound quality.
  • Program options: hearing aids use programs to ensure the hearing settings are always appropriate for your listening environment
  • Technology: modern hearing aids have advanced technology to give you a natural sense of where sounds are coming from and help you form a detailed sound picture of your surroundings.

A comfortable fit includes the physical fit of the hearing aid as well as how the hearing aids sound. The hearing aids will be programmed based on the results of the hearing test and make changes based on individual preferences and unique listening environments.

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