How do hearing aids work?

Last update on Apr, 29, 2022

What are hearing aids?

Hearing aids are electronic devices that fit in or behind the ear. However, what are hearing aids made for? Their purpose is to help people with hearing loss hear better, hence improving their quality of life. 

How do hearing aids work?

Hearing devices are capable of producing more "audible" sounds. But how do the hearing aids work? Each person can hear the infinite variety of sounds that exist in a unique way. What the hearing aid does is transmit these sound vibrations at a higher volume than its actual one, adapting it to the person's level of hearing thus amplifying only what you need to hear better.

What does a hearing aid look like?

Hearing aids are made up of several components that can help improve a person's hearing. What do hearing aids look like in detail? Each device consists of microphones, a computer chip, an amplifier, a receiver and a battery. The microphone detects sound and turns it into a signal, the amplifier increases the volume and the receiver reproduces the sound by sending it to the ear.


The hearing aid microphone is the component that receives sound. Hearing devices with a wireless microphone are therefore able to convert the detected sound into a digital signal.


Hearing aid amplifiers are the essential component that amplifies the vibrations of sound by increasing its volume, thus sending it to the receiver.


The speaker in hearing aids is the element that receives amplified sounds and transmits them to the ear.

How different types of hearing aids work?

Hearing aids can differ in price, size, technology, placement in the ear and visibility. The three main models are as follows: 

  • retro-auricular or BTE: placed behind the ear, they have a transparent tube that connect the hearing aid to an earpiece that fits over the ear canal. These are ideal for people with severe or profound hearing loss;
  • in-the-ear earmolds or ITE: placed inside the ear, they fit perfectly with the shape and size of the ear canal and are completely invisible. They are most suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss;
  • receiver-in-the-ear or RIC.

Customised hearing aids

Hearing aids are customized to each person's specific hearing impairment and fits seamlessly with any lifestyle, amplifying only what the person needs to hear best. Therefore, a hearing care professional should always be consulted to agree on the correct type and custom fit hearing aids.

Hearing aid or cochlear implant?

Compared to a hearing aid, which is removable at any time, a cochlear implant is an electronic device that can only be fitted through surgery, inside the cochlea. Its purpose is to directly stimulate the auditory nerve so that sounds can be perceived. It is recommended when hearing aids are no longer sufficient.

Fitting and adjustment of hearing aids

Wearing hearing aids for the first time can be quite tedious for some people. The fitting and adjustment of hearing aids require the intervention of a professional: the audiologist, an expert whom the proper functioning of the devices depends on. When the question of how to adjust hearing aids arises, the hearing care professional is the correct person to turn to.

Other questions? Come and visit us in an Amplifon centre

Book an appointment and come and visit us at one of our Amplifon centres, our hearing care professionals will be ready to answer any of your curiosities about the world of hearing and to show you our range of Amplifon hearing aids.

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