Hearing aids work by amplifying sound to enable people with a hearing loss to hear. In all hearing aids, sound enters through a microphone. It is then processed before it is sent through the speaker to the ear. How the sound is processed depends on whether it is an analogue hearing aid or digital hearing aid.
Analogue hearing aids process all of the sound that enters the microphone into one unified electronic signal. A digital hearing aid processes the sound into digital code that represents all of the intensities and frequencies of the original sound. As a result, the analogue hearing aid provides an overall picture of the sound whereas the digital hearing aid provides a precise reproduction of the sound. A digital hearing aid can distinguish between speech sounds and background sounds so it can suppress background sounds to enable the hearing aid user to better hear speech sounds. A digital hearing aid can also be tailored to suit the needs of the user.
There are a wide variety of hearing aids to accommodate people’s different hearing abilities and requirements.