Health

FDA Proposes New Rule for Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are

small, electronic devices that

amplify sound.

While they can’t restore normal

hearing, hearing aids can help

you hear better by making

certain sounds louder in both

quiet and noisy situations.

Hearing aids come in several

styles that fit

in or on your ear in different

ways, including “behind

the ear,” “in the ear,” “in

the canal,” and “completely

in the canal.”

While the style may vary,

all hearing aids have

the same basic parts:

a microphone, amplifier,

speaker, and battery.

Here’s how they work:

First, the microphone picks up

sounds from the environment.

Then, a computer chip

with an amplifier

converts the sound waves

into electrical signals.

It analyzes and adjusts

the sounds based on your hearing

loss and the level

of other sounds around you.

These amplified signals are then

converted back into sound waves

and delivered to your ear

through the speaker.

In this way, hearing aids

can improve your hearing

and speech comprehension

if your hearing loss is caused

by damage to the sensory cells

in your inner ear.

The greater the damage

to these cells, the more severe

your hearing loss will be,

and the more amplification

you will need from a hearing aid

in order to compensate.

If you think you might have

a hearing loss

and could benefit from using

hearing aids,

talk to your doctor

or audiologist

for more information.

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