Ear health Data Verified

Hearing Aids - Different Types and How They Work

Published on Jul 22, 2021 and last reviewed on Nov 28, 2022   -  4 min read


A hearing aid can be used to improve hearing in people with hearing loss. In this article, learn about the types, uses, and how to use hearing aids properly.

Hearing Aids - Different Types and How They Work


Several pathological conditions can cause hearing loss. Some of the conditions can be treated by surgery, depending on the disease. Hearing aids are used primarily for improving the hearing and speech comprehension of people who have hearing loss due to damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear. However, chronic sensorineural hearing loss due to damaged cochlear structures needs rehabilitation by improving the amplification.

What Is A Hearing Aid?

A hearing aid is a small device used to improve hearing in people whose hearing is impaired. It will fit inside or outside the ear and will make the sound louder. In this, the hearing aid receives the sound through a microphone, and it converts the sound waves into electrical waves. These electrical waves are sent to the amplifier, which increases the power of the waves and sends it to the ear through a speaker.

Types of Hearing Aids:

The three types of hearing aids:

1. Behind The Ear- It connects the hearing aid to the earmold.

2. Inside The Ear- It is custom made, and it is of two types, like a full shell and a half shell.

3. Completely In The Canal - It is less visible, and it can fit perfectly inside your canal. But sometimes, the ear wax may clog the speaker.

4. In The Canal - It partly fits inside the canal, and it is customized. It can improve hearing from mild to moderate.

5. Receiver In The Canal - It is similar to the behind-the-ear hearing aid.

6. Open Fit - It is the right choice for people with low-frequency hearing.

Mechanism of Hearing Aid:

There are two mechanisms on which the hearing aid works:

  1. Analog: It is less expensive than a digital hearing aid. It converts the sound waves into an electrical signal and then amplifies it and sends it through a speaker to the ear. It is a programmable hearing aid where the settings can be changed in a computer, and we can also change the programs according to the different kinds of environments like small to big crowds. It can be used in all types of hearing aids. It is an adjustable hearing aid that can be customized according to the needs of the user.

  2. Digital: It is quite expensive than an analog hearing aid. It focuses on the sound coming from any specific direction. In this, it converts the sound waves into a numerical code before amplifying it. The digital circuitry can be adjusted according to the user's needs and listening environment. It can be used in all types of hearing aid.

  3. Additional features are added to the hearing aids like:

  • Directional microphones.

  • Rechargeable batteries.

  • Wireless connectivity.

  • Remote controls.

  • Telecoils.

  • Direct audio input.

  • Synchronization.

  • Variable programming.

  • Noise reduction.

Parts of the Hearing Aid:

  1. Microphones.

  2. Mini-chip.

  3. Receiver.

  4. Battery.

  5. Volume control.

Types of Hearing Loss:

  • Sensorineural hearing loss is commonly caused due to aging, overexposure to noise, viral infection, shingles, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, acoustic tumors, elevated body temperature, or meningitis.

  • Conductive hearing loss can be caused due to infection of the ear canal, perforation of the eardrum, wax buildup, abnormal tumor growth in the canal, and foreign body in the canal.

  • Mixed type.

Techniques for Using Hearing Aids:

An audiologist can select the correct hearing aid according to your need and necessity. Only if you maintain the hearing aid properly, will it be beneficial to you, and its life will be extended. You should follow a few techniques to get used to it and maintain it.

1. How to Adjust Yourself With Your Hearing Aid?

It will take time for you to adapt to your new hearing aid. However, practicing and using it regularly can help you out. With the help of your audiologist, you can practice how to put it in and take out your hearing aid, how to clean, how to differentiate between the right and the left side, and how to change the batteries. Clarify all your doubts and make the necessary adjustments until you are satisfied with your aid. While using a hearing aid, keep in mind that your hearing will not return to normal, but it can only improve your hearing. It will take time to adapt to your new hearing aid, but you will quickly get used to it when you use it regularly. Practice using it in different situations or environments. Have a follow-up with the audiologist to know about the new hearing aids available in the market.

2. How to Care for Your Hearing Aid?

To take proper care of the hearing aid, you should,

  • Always keep it away from moisture and heat.

  • The hearing aid should be cleaned regularly from all earwax and drainage from the ear.

  • Hairspray or hair care products should not be used while wearing hearing aids.

  • Switch off hearing aids when not in use.

  • Dead batteries should be changed immediately.

  • Replaced batteries and small aids should be kept away from children.

3. What Are The Difficulties In Using Hearing Aids?

  • In the initial period, some people may feel uncomfortable while using the hearing aid.

  • The user's voice may sound louder inside their head, and this is called the occlusion effect.

  • Some whistling sounds can be heard due to the hearing aid.

  • The hearing aid will not separate the sound you want to hear and do not want to hear.

  • People may hear some buzzing sound in the hearing aid when taken near cell phones due to cell phone's radio frequency interference.

4. How to Carefully Place a Hearing Aid?

  1. First, wash your hands.

  2. The hearing aid should be turned off, and the volume should be low while wearing the hearing aid.

  3. The ear-mold should fit appropriately to your ear; if not, should reshape it according to your ear.

  4. Place the earmold inside the ear, push it forward slightly and place it in the canal.

  5. Then press the earmold by slightly rotating it backward to snugly and comfortably in your ear.


Last reviewed at:
28 Nov 2022  -  4 min read


Dr. Rajat Agarwal

Dr. Rajat Agarwal

Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery


Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

How to enhance my 68-year-old mother's hearing problem?

Query: Hello doctor,My 68 year old mother has a hearing problem. I understand it is due to her age but is there any device which can enhance the hearing in her case?  Read Full »

Please suggest ayurveda treatment for hearing loss.

Query: Hi doctor,I am a 46 year old man having diagnosed with a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. I have been experiencing this for the last two months. Please suggest any ayurveda treatment for the same?  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on Hearing Aids or Types Of Hearing Aids?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.