Mayo Clinic: Why do hearing aids work for some people but not
type of hearing loss you have and how severe it is can impact
how well a hearing aid works for you. A variety of hearing
aids are available, so if the first one you try isnít
helpful, ask your audiologist to recommend another. For people
who have hearing loss that does not benefit from hearing aids,
another device called a cochlear implant may be a useful
has three areas: the outer, middle and inner ear. When you
hear, sound waves pass through the outer ear and cause
vibrations at the eardrum, which are transmitted through the
three small bones of the middle ear to the fluid-filled inner
ear. The inner ear is a snail-shaped structure called the
the cochlea are thousands of tiny hair cells that help
translate the sound vibrations into electrical signals that
are sent to your brain through your auditory nerve. The
vibrations of different sounds affect these tiny hair cells in
different ways, causing different signals to be sent to your
brain. Thatís how you distinguish one sound from another.
people who develop hearing loss, the hair cells in the cochlea
are damaged or missing, usually as a result of aging or
exposure to loud noise, or due to genetic reasons. That means
the signals canít be transmitted efficiently to the brain.
aids donít replace or regenerate the hair cells that have
been damaged, so they canít completely restore normal
hearing. They can improve your ability to hear by amplifying
sound, helping you hear the sounds youíve had trouble
hearing. But even when the sound level increases with a
hearing aid, you still may notice some hearing loss.
hearing aids are digital and can be programmed individually to
analyze and adjust sound based on your specific hearing loss,
listening needs and the level of the sounds around you.
Although hearing aids can be programmed to amplify certain
sounds, they cannot eliminate all background noise.
aids vary significantly in price, size and features. Some fit
completely inside your ear canal. Some are placed in the outer
portion of your ear. Others hook over the top of your ear and
sit behind it. Your audiologist can review your options and
help you choose which one might be best for your needs.
take time to adjust to a new hearing aid and decide if itís
right for you. Thatís why you have a trial period for
hearing aids. During the trial period, you work closely with
your audiologist to determine what is best for your hearing
health needs. If you have concerns, donít hesitate to tell
your audiologist. He or she may be able to adjust your hearing
aid or offer a different type of hearing aid that suits you
hearing loss is severe and cannot be managed with hearing
aids, a cochlear implant could be another treatment option if
itís medically appropriate for you. The device works by
bypassing the hair cells in your inner ear that donít work
and giving the brain the ability to perceive sound once again.
A cochlear implant includes an external processor that fits
behind your ear and an internal receiver implanted under the
skin behind your ear.
people with mild to moderate hearing loss, though, hearing
aids can offer significant improvement in hearing. Working
with your audiologist, itís likely you will be able to find
a hearing aid that fits your needs.