What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid is an electroacoustic device whose main function is to compensate for a hearing loss.

How does a hearing aid work?

In general, through a microphone, the hearing aid picks up the acoustic signal and transforms it into an electrical signal. This signal is amplified, filtered and processed as it passes through the amplifier circuit and from there it is sent to the headphone, which is responsible for transforming this electrical signal back into an acoustic signal, sending it to the ear.


How to suspect hearing loss

  • Mild hearing loss: You cannot hear soft sounds. Difficulty understanding words in a noisy environment.
  • Moderate hearing loss: You cannot hear soft or moderately loud sounds. Considerable difficulty understanding the word, especially with background noise.
  • Severe hearing loss: Some loud sounds are audible but communication without hearing aids is not possible.
  • Profound hearing loss: Only extremely loud sounds are audible. Communication without hearing aids is impossible.

Types of hearing aids

Nowadays the vast majority of hearing aids that are adapted are 100% digital. Unlike previous technologies (programmable, analogue), these hearing aids provide the most natural level of hearing possible, which allows for better understanding of speech in conversations (even in situations where there is background noise) and greater comfort in noisy environments. They are fully automatic hearing aids.

Depending on the power of the hearing aids, we distinguish between the following hearing aid models:


CIC    –   Intauricular –    Retroauricular    –   Open Fit   –   RIC


The model will be chosen based on the patient’s audiometric profile.


Whenever there is hearing loss in both ears, the prosthetic fitting will be binaural (a hearing aid in each ear, as long as there are no medical and/or audiological contraindications to it).

Stereophonic hearing brings great advantages, such as:

  • Sound Localization
  • Understanding in a noise environment
  • Better sound quality
  • Good sound level perceptionaudifono 4

Prescription and indication of hearing aids

Hearing loss can be due to a variety of reasons: your ear is clogged with earwax, or a pathology. Therefore, it is advisable that if you notice that your hearing capacity has decreased, you go to the consultation of your otolaryngologist specialist, who will make an accurate diagnosis of the reason for your hearing loss.

An exhaustive study of hearing capacity through different diagnostic tests is essential:

  • Tonal audiometry by air and bone
  • Verbal audiometry
  • Thresholds of discomfort
  • Impedance Metry
  • Auditory Brainstem Evoked Potentials
  • Steady-State Auditory Evoked Potentials
  • Otoacoustic Emissions
  • Acuphenometry

These tests are performed taking into account each case and the age of the patient.

Hearing care professionals work closely with ear, nose and throat specialists, following their instructions for all hearing adaptations. Therefore, whenever a hearing loss is detected, the report is sent to the otolaryngologist, who will be informed at all times of the patient’s follow-up. It is the job of the hearing care professional to select the right model of hearing aid in order to restore the patient’s hearing capacity as much as possible.

The figure of the prosthetic adaptation counselor arises in order to:

  1. To guide the patient, once the adaptation is prescribed by the otolaryngologist, on what would be the most appropriate adaptation model taking into account their personal case, advising and providing information on the different possibilities on the market and resolving the patient’s doubts about hearing aids and their adaptation process.
  2. He works closely with the ENT doctor and the hearing care professional, facilitating two-way communication.
  1. It verifies the correct functioning and adequate performance of the prostheses once the patient goes to their hearing center and adapts the hearing aids, reporting this result to both the otolaryngologist and the hearing center.

Getting started

Once the correct hearing aid has been prescribed and selected, a period of habituation and auditory training is necessary, in which the patient begins to put on the hearing aid gradually and in different types of environments.

It is usually recommended to place it for a couple of hours the first few days and gradually increase this time. Likewise, at first it is recommended to place the hearing aid only in quiet environments and gradually move on to more acoustically complex environments. Much of the success or failure of the adaptation will depend on the correct process of habituation to it.

The hearing care professional initially makes an adjustment of the gain, which may be modified in subsequent revisions depending on the results obtained and especially on the patient’s experience with them.

Some useful tips

Hearing aids must be maintained for their proper functioning. By following these tips, users will be able to enjoy their hearing aids for longer:

  1. Hearing aids should be checked regularly. This will ensure that they work optimally and that they are perfectly fitted in the user’s ear.
  2. Your ENT specialist should have your hearing checked regularly.
  3. Avoid ototoxic medications, the list of which will be provided by your ENT specialist.
  4. Earwax usually accumulates in hearing aids, so it should be cleaned at least twice a week (or more often if excess earwax is observed) with special products. Follow your hearing care professional’s advice about cleaning your hearing aids.

To protect the hearing aids from moisture, specific dehumidifiers should be used.