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What is a Hearing Aid Amplifier?

By C.B. Fox
Updated May 17, 2024
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A hearing aid amplifier is a device that is worn in or around the ear that improves hearing by increasing the volume of sounds. "Amplifier" can refer to the component that is responsible for the increase in volume or can be used to refer to the entire hearing aid apparatus. It is specially designed to correct for an individual person’s hearing loss and can utilize analog or digital technology.

There are three main electronic components to a hearing aid: a microphone, a speaker, and an amplifier. Sound enters the device by way of the microphone, which transforms sound waves into electrical or numerical information. The hearing aid amplifier receives this electrical or numerical information, increases the amplitude of the sound, and then directs it into the ear through the speaker.

A hearing aid amplifier increases the volume of sound in a hearing aid using either analog or digital technology. An analog hearing aid amplifier converts sound into electrical information and then boosts the signal so that the sound will be louder as it passes through the speaker. These devices are customizable and allow the settings on the hearing aid to be changed so that it works well under a variety of circumstances, including small gatherings and large, noisy events.

It is also possible to use a hearing aid amplifier that is outfitted with digital technology. A digital hearing aid amplifier takes sound waves and turns them into binary code, which can be read by the processor in the hearing aid. The binary code contains information about pitch, which means that the digital amplifiers can filter out sounds that do not fall into the range of normal human speech. This makes it possible for the hearing aid to increase a person’s ability to hear other people talking while filtering out some background noises. This type of amplifier can also be programmed with different specifications for different types of environments.

A doctor called an audiologist works with each patient to determine what type of hearing aid amplifier would suit that patient best. Though there are many advantages to having a digital hearing aid amplifier, these devices tend to cost more than those that use analog technology. A patient’s specific hearing needs will determine, to a large degree, which type of hearing aid amplifier is best.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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