A hearing aid is a small device that is worn on or in the ear in order to amplify sound for those who have hearing loss or impairment. The three common styles of hearing aid (behind the ear, in the ear canal, and in the pinna) are reviewed below. Hearing aids have been shown to be effective in many empirical studies (e.g., Rekkedal, 2012, Van den Bogaert, Carette & Wouters, 2011). Many individuals who have hearing aids choose not to wear them for a variety of reasons; including comfort and sound quality (McCormack & Fortnum, 2013), and it seems that this rejection is more common in individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss (Rekkedal, 2012). Research has shown that individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (who often have hearing impairment) are able to wear and discuss hearing aid satisfaction effectively (Meuwese-Jongejeugd, Verschuure & Evenhuis, 2007), so it seems that hearing aids are appropriate in a variety of exceptional populations regardless of other impairment.
Research Rating: Due to the experimental nature of the information cited in this description this information is to be trusted as valid and reliable.
Can be used to amplify sound for those who have trouble hearing
Can be paired with FM/IR systems in the classroom
May not be effective in noisy environments
Many individuals who are prescribed hearing aids abandon the technology because it does not work well for them
Comfort and fit are incredibly important for hearing aid satisfaction (McCormack & Fortnum, 2013)
Age at which hearing aids are prescribed can affect the user’s long-term use. Typically individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss are prescribed later and often wear their hearing aids less than individuals with severe hearing loss (Rekkedal, 2012)
Some individuals are more sensitive to background noise than others, and therefore may not respond as well to using hearing aids. These differences are not affected by acclimatization, so this should be considered when selecting hearing aids (Nabelek, Tampas & Burchfield, 2004)
Contact an audiologist for more information
Special Consideration: Workflow
Exact prices change frequently, which is why only approximate ranges are listed.
$ - Under $5
$$ - Between $6 and $50
$$$ - Between $51 and $250
$$$$ - Over $250
McCormack, A. & Fortnum, H. (2013). Why do people fitted with hearing aids not wear them?. International Journal of Audiology, 52, 360–368.
Meuwese-Jongejeugd, A., Verschuure, H., & Evenhuis, H. M. (2007). Hearing aids: expectations and satisfaction of people with an intellectual disability, a descriptive pilot study. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 51, 913–922.
Nabelek, A. K., Tampas, J. W., & Burchfield, S. B. (2004). Comparison of speech perception in background noise with acceptance of background noise in aided and unaided conditions. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 47, 1001-1011.
Rekkedal, A. M. (2012). Assistive hearing technologies among students with hearing impairment: Factors that promote satisfaction. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 17, 499-517.
Van den Bogaert, T., Carette, E. & Wouters, J. (2011). Sound source localization using hearing aids with microphones placed behind-the-ear, in-the-canal, and in-the-pinna. International Journal of Audiology, 50, 164–176.
Written by Bronwyn Lamond, Last Revision January 2017