Hearing Aid Parts
Hearing aids are advancing in their technology quickly. Even though most of us don’t know how the technology works, it’s good to know some of the basics when it comes to hearing aid parts; you never know when you’ll need to troubleshoot when an issue arises.
There are many types of hearing aids available for purchase, whether in-store or online. The two main types are behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids and in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids. Receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) is a type of BTE and is among the most commonly bought hearing aids. All contain the same four components.
I’ll explain these 4 main components that all hearing aids have, and then go into additional hearing aid parts that a hearing aid may or may not have.
Inside Parts of a Hearing Aid Body
The body (or casing) sits either behind the ear or in the ear. The most common hearing aid parts in the body are the battery, microphone, and amplifier. Hearing aid receivers are in the body for a BTE but go in the ear canal for a RIC. Likewise, ITEs have receivers in the body that goes into the ear.
The battery is the power source for hearing aids. They can be disposable or rechargeable. Battery life can vary depending on the size and usages. If you wear them all day and use them for Bluetooth connectivity, they won’t last as long as for someone who just uses them during working hours.
Microphones take your surrounding environment sounds, converts them to electrical signals, then sends them to the amplifier. Many microphones can now differentiate between noisy backgrounds and speech to provide you with an ideal hearing experience.
The amplifier is true to its name. It takes the electrical signals from the microphone, amplifies it to what the wearer needs, and sends that amplified signal to a receiver/speaker. The level of amplification depends on the severity of your hearing loss.
This is also where any tinnitus masking features are placed. Click here for more information on tinnitus.
Another critical component is the receiver. The receiver, also called a speaker, takes the amplified signal, and converts it to acoustical signals to be heard by the wearer. Your hearing loss level and lifestyle will determine the type of hearing aid you get and where the receiver is.
The hearing aid speaker sits inside the body of BTEs and in-the-ear (ITEs). ITEs are almost entirely in your ear canal, unlike BTEs that have their casing behind the ear.
Additional Hearing Aid Components
Since there are many different styles of hearing aids, there are many that are equipped with extra parts, varying on their style and size. Some of these parts include wire, earmold, and button/switch.
Hearing aid wires can be found on RICs. They are wires with plastic coverings around them that connect from the body to the speaker.
Earmolds are made of a pliable material. They connect to the body of a BTE, wrap over the top of your ear, and sit in it. It’s an open tube to allow the sound from the receiver to travel into your ear. It’s essential to have a snug fit to avoid feedback.
Your hearing professional will make an impression of your ear for the correct fit. Or you could contact Prescription Hearing for assistance.
Some hearing aid parts include a button to control volume or switching from different programs. Although many don’t have this switch available because a mobile app can control these functions.
Some hearing aids have a telecoil inside and it helps to filter out background noise.
Image Summary of the Different Hearing Aid Parts
Dome: Small silicon pieces that fit over speakers, which are attached to the wires (common on RICs).
Remember: It’s good to inspect and clean all hearing aid parts nightly to ensure proper care and functioning.