A frequent question asked by customers being fitted for hearing aids deals with whether the hearing aids which are intended to help them hear weak sounds will make the loud noises too loud for their ears.This is a logical question, one for which there is thankfully a comforting answer.
Put simply, so long as they are correctly fitted and adjusted today’s hearing aids are designed so that they will not take loud sounds and make them louder still, potentially damaging the user’s ears. We cannot overemphasize how important the phrase in bold is; this is the reason you should have professional help with selecting and fitting your hearing aids.
The more complex answer has to do with the nature of modern digital hearing aids themselves, and how they work. Digital hearing aids work by transforming sounds into data. The data which encodes the sounds is then processed in the hearing aid’s microchip before the amplified sound is delivered to your ears. Your individual needs can be met with these digital hearing aids by programming and adjusting the maximum volume and the quality of sounds. If you have primarily high-frequency hearing loss, for example, we might program the hearing aid to amplify those sounds while reducing the volume of lower-frequency sounds. This preference can be reversed, of course, if you suffer from primarily low-frequency hearing loss.
In addition, modern digital hearing aids are able to filter the sound to make it more understandable. Background noise can be detected and reduced in volume, while voices in the foreground can be detected and amplified so you can hear them more easily. The hearing aids can also be adjusted to dynamically compensate for differences in volume; if the speaker or music you are listening to starts softly but then increases and becomes too loud, the hearing aid can compensate for this. Directional microphones also allow the hearing aid wearer to hear faint sounds coming from the direction they are facing, while suppressing noisier sounds coming from behind or to either side.
Be aware that hearing aids do not protect the ear the way that ear plugs are designed to do. Loud sounds like chainsaws or overly amplified rock concerts, will therefore still be able to cause noise-induced hearing loss. But properly fitted and properly programmed, your hearing aid should cover most of the situations you are likely to find yourself in.