Hearing aids are small electronic or digital devices that help amplify sound. Offered in several styles (such as behind-the-ear or in-the-ear), hearing aids consist of four key components—a microphone, amplifier, receiver, and a power source.
Keep reading to learn more about how each hearing aid part contributes towards improved hearing and better quality of life by the user.
What Are the Four Main Parts of a Hearing Aid?
The four main parts of a hearing aid include a microphone, an amplifier, a receiver, and a battery compartment.
The microphone is responsible for picking up sounds from the outside environment, where it then uses a computer chip-embedded amplifier to convert sound waves into electrical signals. It analyzes and adjusts sounds based on ambient sounds and your own hearing loss.
Also known as a hearing aid processor, an amplifier is responsible for taking the microphone’s electric signals and converting them into digital signals, with less or greater application based on user hearing ability.
How hearing aids work effectively is with a microphone that picks up sound really well. It also factors any ambient sounds such as wind and construction site work. Consider an amplifier or an automatic noise canceling machine gentle on your ears, capable of modifying sounds so that only the most relevant are heard by the wearer with hearing loss (e.g., an active conversation over background noise).
Also referred to as the speaker, the receiver is responsible for converting the microphone’s electrical signals into actual sound. Receivers are usually within the earmold or ear dome.
All hearing aids use batteries. They use one of two types of batteries—disposable zinc-air or rechargeable batteries.
Other Hearing Aid Parts Names
Other key components for different types of hearing aids include domes, earmolds, and buttons and switches.
Domes are small, mushroom-shaped pieces of silicone that are connected to your hearing aid’s tube, placed deep in the canal, adhering to your contours. They are responsible for helping to amplify sound and boost the frequency range, and are especially popular with those who have mild to moderate loss of hearing.
Earmolds are a type of form-fitting plastic that fits just inside your ear canal, helping to seal it against outside noise. The shape and fit can vary wildly depending on the type of hearing aid and whether you suffer from mild, moderate, or severe loss of hearing.
Your hearing aid’s buttons and switches work just as the names imply. One of the most common uses for a button or switch is volume control or toggling between different hearing settings based on the amount of background noise. That way, users can avoid having a plugged-up ear canal.
Do Different Hearing Aids Have Different Parts?
Yes, different hearing aids have different parts. The variation in parts depends on whether or not it is a receiver-in-ear (RIC or in-the-ear) or behind-the-ear (BTE or outer ear) hearing aid.
Although outer ear and in-ear hearing aids both use hard cases (shells), custom earmolds, or ear domes, they each vary with other key components. For starters, BTE hearing aids typically come with stronger amplifiers and larger batteries to better deal with low-to-high-frequency sound magnification in the canal.
Another difference between behind-the-ear devices and in-the-ear hearing aids is the speaker locations in and around the ear canal. With RIC hearing aids, speakers are located at the end of a thin electrical wire. BTE hearing aids have speakers embedded within the hard case.
A BTE hearing aid is ideal for active people who spend plenty of time outdoors and those suffering from moderate to severe loss of hearing. In-the-ear hearing aids are best reserved for those suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss. Consult with a hearing care provider to determine which set is right for you.
Where Can I Find the Right Hearing Aid Parts Near Me?
If you don’t have a store or audiologist office close to you selling hearing aids and parts, the best option is to order online.
MDHearingAid offers a diverse selection of affordable hearing aids and hearing aid accessories such as an ear hook, wax guard, microphones, full shell, and soft cloth. Most parts inside are available for sale separately, as well as many accessories designed to make it easier to care for your hearing aids, including tubing/tip replacement kits, chargers, and circular domes.
How Do I Know If I Need a Hearing Aid?
To know if you are one in five Americans with hearing loss needing a hearing aid, we recommend taking the best online hearing test . Produced by professional audio engineers, this hearing test can be completed by any person in only 8 minutes and delivers personalized information on both hearing aid users’ and non-hearing aid users’ loss levels.
Here are some frequently asked questions regarding hearing aid parts.
What Are the Parts of a Hearing Aid?
The four basic parts of a hearing aid include several electronic components: hearing aid microphone, amplifier, receiver, and battery. All of these hearing aid components are critical for these little devices to work and for sound to become amplified.
The hearing aid microphone is responsible for converting sounds from the environment into an electrical signal. This electronic sound is then funneled through the amplifier to adjust power and volume levels depending on ambient sounds and the wearer’s level of hearing loss.
The receiver converts electrical input into acoustic signals (sounds such as speech signals) and the battery is responsible for powering the device. Batteries usually come in disposable or rechargeable versions. A wax guard may or may not be included.
How Do You Replace Hearing Aid Parts?
We only recommend replacing your hearing aid dome every several weeks. It is a simple process—simply hold your hearing aid speaker, pull off your old earpiece with directional microphones, place the new dome in the middle of the earpiece, and push it firmly to ensure it is correctly in place. Be sure not to press too hard on your battery compartment or any internal parts, and clean the hearing aid speaker with a small microfiber cloth regularly.
What Is the Hearing Aid Receiver?
Your hearing aid’s receiver is a small electronic device responsible for converting electrical signals. Some receivers are placed within the person’s ear canal and others are connected to the end of small tubes that fit into the ear using an ear hook.
It can be housed within the earmold or ear dome, with domes best for a hearing aid user suffering from mild to moderate loss of hearing. Earmolds work best for those with severe to profound hearing loss. Both models allow users to hear speech and ambient sounds better.
In short, over the counter hearing aids are intricate pieces of equipment for those with loss of hearing, each designed to amplify and process sound and speech feedback and fit snugly within or outside the wearer’s ear canal.
Despite its small size, a hearing aid is capable of taking sounds from the environment, converting them into electrical signals, processing them into a digital signal and analog signal with appropriate power and volume adjustments depending on the wearer’s personal loss of hearing.
- “One in Five Americans Has Hearing Loss – 11/14/2011.” Johns Hopkins Medicine, Based in Baltimore, Maryland, https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/one_in_five_americans_has_hearing_loss.