How does a hearing aid actually work? Which components are universal? In an industry with fairly short product cycles, that's not so easy to answer. You can also find out here what impact digitization is having on built-in features.
Who is BVHI?
• The Federal Association of the Hearing Systems Industry e.V. (BVHI)
represents the manufacturers of hearing systems on the German market.
• It is the communication body for all topics related to hearing technology.
• The association is committed to increasing the use of hearing aids and
implants by people with hearing loss and educates about the performance of
modern hearing systems.
• In addition, it promotes cooperation with all groups involved in the
provision of hearing systems. These include hearing care professionals, ENT
physicians, health insurance companies, other associations and interest
groups as well as politicians.
How does a hearing aid work? | BVHI | 21.01.2022 2
• The hearing systems industry is a healthcare sector that produces innovative
technologies in ever shorter development cycles - especially since
digitalization has made its way into hearing aids.
• So, it's not unusual for a new model to come onto the market every two
years or so.
• Nevertheless, the purpose of a hearing aid has not changed: Hearing aids
improve your acoustic perception - and more.
• The basic components therefore always remain the same.
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Basic hearing aid components
Traditionally, every hearing aid consists of three basic
components in addition to a power source (battery or
• a microphone unit usually consisting of two
microphones, which pick up sound and convert it
into electrical signals.
• an amplifier that amplifies relevant signals and
filters out noise.
• a miniature loudspeaker that converts electrical
signals back into acoustic ones and brings them to
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• Digital hearing aids also have a small computer that modifies the signals
according to the individual hearing loss.
• The performance spectrum of modern hearing aids has expanded enormously
in recent years. Numerous models today have the following functions, among
• Noise and wind suppression
• Feedback suppression
• Impulse noise cancellation
• Directional microphones with alignment to one or more speakers
• Automatic volume adjustment
• Situational awareness
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New Feature: Wind Suppression
• Modern, dustproof and waterproof hearing aids are
adjusted to different environmental influences.
• For example, disruptive ambient noise, such as strong
wind and reverberation, can be suppressed.
• This improves speech comprehension in large rooms and
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by OpenClipart-Vectors at Pixabay
New Feature: Feedback Cancellation
• For a long time, whistling noises - so-called feedback - were a problem with hearing aids.
These can occur when the shape of the earpiece does not quite fit the ear canal. The sound is
thus picked up again and amplified by the microphone inside.
• Whistling, which is not removed by an earpiece fitting, can be (almost) completely
by the feedback suppression feature.
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By OpenClipart-Vectors at Pixabay
New Feature: Impulse Noise Cancellation
• Impulse sounds are sounds that contain sound events of short duration.
This leads to a rapid increase in sound level.
• An impulse noise can be caused by a slamming door, for example.
• These noises are separately detected and attenuated by modern
hearing aids. Inaudible high-pitched sounds, for example children's
laughter, can be shifted accordingly to a lower, audible frequency
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By OpenClipart-Vectors at Pixabay
New Feature: Directional Microphones
• Background noise can make it difficult to participate in conversations
when hearing loss is present, as the words of the person you are
talking to no longer come across clearly and understandably.
• The use of directional microphones can help here. These are
microphones that pick up sound coming from the front, but
attenuate sound coming from other directions more strongly.
• State-of-the-art systems can not only pick up frontal sound, but also
adaptively pick up multiple speakers from different directions in a
• Many models also have the ability to automatically amplify soft
sounds and attenuate loud ones.
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by IO-Images at Pixabay
And further beyond: Digitalization
• Today, hearing aids are fully digital and equipped with
• This makes them wearables - Internet-enabled assistants that
are worn directly on or even inside the body, like computer
glasses or a smartwatch.
• They are networked with each other using wireless
technologies such as Bluetooth connections, which are
established by radio and therefore without cables.
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By geralt at Pixabay
And further beyond: Digitalization
• By pairing the right and left hearing aids, wearers not only
hear as if they had two healthy ears and can easily locate
sound sources spatially and orient themselves.
• They can also pair their hearing aids with their
smartphone, hi-fi system or TV, either directly or via an
• Then they can leave their cell phone in their pocket when
making a call and hear the person they are talking to clearly
- directly in their ear.
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By JESHOOTS-com at Pixabay
Where can I get a hearing aid?
• Hearing aids are approved and tested medical devices.
They are individually fitted by qualified hearing care
• If you want to detect hearing loss in time, you should get
a hearing test with an ear, nose and throat specialist. If
the appropriate conditions are met, he or she will
prescribe hearing aids. In some cases, a hearing implant is
also a possibility.
• In Germany, you can find an ENT doctor in your area, for
example, by using the doctor search of Ihr-
• Alternatively, you can also contact a hearing acoustician
in your area, for example via the service of Ihr-
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Where can I find more information (in German)?
• European Hearing Instruments Manufacturers Association – https://www.ehima.com/ (English)
• Bundesverband der Hörsysteme-Industrie e.V. – https://bvhi.org/
• Welttag des Hörens 2022 – https://welttag-des-hoerens.de/
• Info-Portal Ihr-Hörgerät.de mit Hörakustiker- und HNO-Arztsuche – https://www.ihr-hoergeraet.de/
• Initiative Hörgesundheit – https://www.initiative-hörgesundheit.de
• Der BVHI @ LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/company/9320469/
• Der BVHI @ Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/der_bvhi/
• Der BVHI @ Twitter – https://twitter.com/der_bvhi
• Der BVHI @ Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BVHIorg
• Der BVHI @ YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58kCJCJNfuQ
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How does a hearing aid work? | BVHI | 21.01.2022