How Do Hearing Aids Work?

a young woman with hearing loss finding out how hearing aids work from an audiologist.


Across the UK, there are 11 million people with hearing loss — that’s around one in six of us. It’s a common yet equally distressing health concern, as your hearing is necessary for you to carry out daily tasks, socialise and keep yourself safe from danger. So when hearing problems occur, what is the solution?

If you’re concerned about your level of hearing, an audiology professional can test your hearing for any problems and discuss whether or not you need a hearing aid to help you hear better. If they find that you’d benefit from wearing a hearing aid, they will recommend which type of hearing aid to wear based on your type of hearing loss, as well as your lifestyle needs.

Below, we take a closer look at what a hearing aid is along with its benefits, how it works and what the different types are.

What is a Hearing Aid?

A hearing aid is a small electronic device that helps users hear sounds better and understand speech more clearly to improve your communication ability.

Although hearing aids won’t make your hearing perfect, they will reduce the impact that hearing loss has on your life. These helpful devices can:

  • Help you hear everyday sounds, such as the doorbell, a car horn or the phone. You’ll also be able to listen to music and the TV at a volume that’s comfortable for those around you.
  • Improve your ability to hear speech, which can make you feel more confident when talking to people. It also makes it easier for you to follow conversations in different environments, such as in a bar or shopping centre.

How Does a Hearing Aid Work?

For a hearing aid to do its job and deliver sound to you effectively, it goes through a three-stage process:

1. A miniature microphone in the hearing aid takes in sound, which is converted into a digital signal.

2. This digital signal is processed to meet the needs of the user’s hearing loss.

3. A receiver (sort of like a miniature loudspeaker) in the hearing aid sends the processed sound signal through the type of fitting appropriate for your hearing aid system. 

What Are the Different Types of Hearing Aids?

There is a variety of hearing aids available, each with a unique design and purpose to suit your unique hearing requirements and aesthetic preferences.

Behind the Ear

A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid is a small plastic device that sits behind your ear and contains a tube to a piece of plastic, which fits in your ear. This is the most common type and one of the easiest hearing aids to use.

Reciever Inside the Ear

A receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aid is similar to a BTE, but the part that sits behind your ear is smaller, making it less visible. However, they can be more fiddly to use. 

In the Ear

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids fill the area just outside the opening of your ear. It can’t be seen from behind, but it is visible from the side.

In the Canal

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are similar to ITE aids, but they’re a bit smaller and fill just the opening of the ear. However, they aren’t usually powerful enough for those with severe hearing loss.

The earlier you get a hearing aid, the more you’ll get out of it. Don’t wait until your hearing worsens before seeing a professional audiologist book your hearing assessment in Wirral today!