About Hearing Aids

Posted on: 9 May 2017

Introduction to Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are artificial devices worn in the ears that help with hearing. They are typically used by the elderly as they lose their hearing, or by partly or mostly hearing-impaired people of any age. Different types of external hearing aids have been used for several centuries. The first electric hearing aids were made at the end of the 1800s. By end of the 1900s, digital hearing aids were already starting to be used. Let's take a look at how hearing aids work.

How They Work 

Microphones, amplifiers, and speakers are the main parts of hearing aids. Hearing aids take in sound through the tiny microphone. Assuming they are modern hearing aids, the devices digitize the sound waves, changing them into electrical signals. These are then sent to the amplifier, which makes the sound signals more powerful. The signals travel from the amplifier through the speaker and into the person's ear. This is the basic three-part process by which hearing aids work. Modern hearing aids can hear sound from all directions and adjust to different soundscapes thanks to advances in technology.  


There are several types of hearing aid depending on the fitting.  ITE (in the ear) devices fill up the outer ear completely. ITC (in the canal) devices are smaller and are positioned partly or wholly in the ear canal. BTE (behind the ear) devices are positioned with parts of the hearing aid filling in the outer ear and parts of it in a case behind the ear. There are also mini BTEs with a tiny receiver fitted in the ear canal and the rest behind the ear. BTEs, especially mini BTEs, are virtually invisible unless someone knows what they are looking for. It is comforting for some people to have hearing aids that don't stand out.  

Cost and Coverage 

According to one source, "The average price of a digital hearing aid is about $1500." The source also notes that the more expensive, high-tech types are usually between three and five thousand dollars. Depending on the specific insurance company, hearing tests and hearing aids might be covered in part or in full. Be sure to check with your provider. Another source states that Medicare unfortunately does not cover hearing aids currently. However, Medicaid can help. There are other ways you might be able to get help with the cost of hearing aids.  Because of the Individuals with Disability Education Act, funding may be available through intervention programs in schools or local health departments.  

For additional information, you will want to contact the professionals at Waters ENT Sinus & Allergy.