Hearing aids are incredibly specialized little pieces of machinery. Over the past several years, they have become increasingly advanced. Although you probably don’t think much about the different components of your hearing aid and how they work, each one has a specific and important role in helping you hear more sounds.
Below we will review the basic parts of a modern receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aid. This type of hearing aid is the most common today and is also known as a receiver-in-ear (RIE) or receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid.
The Internal Parts of the Body of the Hearing Aid
Several parts of the hearing aid are housed in the body, which is the largest part of your device. It sits behind your ear and is typically housed in a hard plastic casing. Here are the main components of the body of the hearing aid:
- Microphone: The microphone’s job is to pick up sound and send it to the amplifier. Depending on how technologically advanced your hearing aid is, your microphone might be able to distinguish between speech and background noise. This can help you more easily follow conversations in loud environments with lots of competing noise.
- Amplifier: The amplifier is in charge of converting sounds picked up by the microphone into an electrical signal, and then sending the signal to the receiver/speaker. How much the sound is amplified depends on your level of hearing loss. This will be determined following an evaluation conducted by your hearing healthcare professional.
- Battery: The battery is the power source for your hearing aid. Some hearing aids have rechargeable batteries, while others have disposable batteries.
Some devices also feature a telecoil, which helps you hear better in noisy public settings.
The Button or Switch
Most RITE hearing aids include a button or switch on the body of the hearing aid. Depending on your device, this button might switch your hearing aid between different programs or settings, or it might change the volume setting.
Your hearing healthcare professional can help you set the function of this button or switch. If you don’t know what your button or switch does, we recommend that you speak with your hearing aid professional.
The wire that runs from the body of the hearing aid to the speaker transmits power and sound signals to the speaker. This wire is coated in plastic and runs to the inside of the ear, where the speaker is located.
The Receiver or Speaker
The receiver or speaker is responsible for delivering sound to the inside of your ear. The speaker receives an electrical signal from the amplifier and then converts the signal back into sound. Your receiver/speaker is housed in either a dome or an earmold.
- Dome: If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, your hearing aid probably has a dome receiver. A dome is a small, bell-shaped silicone piece that attaches to the end of the wire. It is designed to fit deep in the ear canal, so receivers come in many different shapes and sizes. Your hearing aid professional will help you find the right fit that is comfortable and helps you hear best.
- Earmold: If you have severe to profound hearing loss, you may have an earmold. The earmold is a form-fitting plastic or acrylic piece that fits inside your ear canal and concha (the part of the outer ear closest to the ear canal). Because earmolds are custom made for each person and are designed to fit snugly, they create an acoustic seal that provides the best amplification and prevents sound from escaping.
That’s it! Now you know all of the main components of your hearing aid. To keep your hearing aids functioning properly, simply wipe them off with a clean, dry cloth before putting them away each night. You may also want to use a dehumidifier at night to prevent moisture damage.
If you have any questions about your hearing aid or how it works, we encourage you to contact our hearing healthcare professional today.