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Hearing Aids


Hearing aids make sounds louder. There are many different styles of hearing aids. And you can add special features to your hearing aids. But almost all hearing aids have these parts:

  • A microphone, to pick up sound.
  • An amplifier, to make the sound louder.
  • A speaker, to deliver the sound into the ear.

How to get hearing aids

You have some options if you think you or your child has a hearing problem and are thinking about getting hearing aids. You can see your doctor or an audiologist to talk about getting hearing aids.

Prescription hearing aids need to be fitted by someone trained specifically in hearing problems. An audiologist or licensed hearing aid practitioner can make sure your hearing aids fit and work for your type and degree of hearing loss. Prescription hearing aids work for people with mild to severe hearing loss.

Different types of hearing aids come with different costs. In Alberta, you or your child may be eligible for funding for hearing aids through Alberta Aids to Daily Living (AADL). If you have a private health insurance plan or health benefits through work, they may also help cover the cost of hearing aids. Talk with your audiologist about different funding options. Also find out about a warranty or return policy in case you aren't happy with your hearing aids.

Hearing aid information for babies and children

Learn about the types of hearing technology for children and how to use and care for your child’s hearing aids:

How They Work

Hearing aids differ in how they look, what size they are, where they are placed in the ear, and how much they can amplify sounds.

Today, hearing aids use digital technology. They are programmed for your needs using a computer.

The size of a hearing aid is not a good indicator of its sound quality.

There are different styles of external hearing aids. You can wear them behind your ear, in your outer ear, or in your ear canal. Some types of hearing loss may need hearing technology that is implanted, like cochlear implants or bone-anchored hearing systems.

The kind of hearing aid you choose depends on many things, including how much hearing loss you have, your doctor or audiologist's advice, and what kind of hearing aid you want.

Special features can be added to your hearing aids to help you hear even better.


Bluetooth technology allows you to connect your hearing aids to other electronic devices, such as cell phones, computers, and GPS devices.

Directional microphone.

This feature can help you hear better in a noisy place. A directional microphone will make sound coming from one direction louder than other sounds. For example, a directional microphone will make a person's voice coming from in front of you louder than sounds coming from behind you. This can help you have a conversation in a noisy restaurant.


A t-coil lets you switch between normal hearing aid settings and a telephone setting. This will help you hear better on a regular telephone. Many public places like movie theatres, public auditoriums, and places of worship also have telecoil systems to make it easier for people with hearing loss to hear. Many adults with hearing loss advocate strongly for this feature in public places.

Direct audio input.

This feature lets you connect your hearing aid to a TV, radio, or cell phone. You plug it directly into your hearing aid.

Feedback suppression.

This feature will control the high-pitched whistling sound some people get with hearing aids (feedback). Feedback happens most when a hearing aid gets close to a telephone or if your hearing aid is loose in your ear.

Getting Used to Them

Here are some general tips to help you adjust to your new hearing aids.

  • Start by wearing your hearing aids when you are talking to only one person in quiet. These are the easiest conversations to understand. Slowly work up to conversations with more than one person and in listening environments with noise in the background.
  • Continue to pay attention to people's gestures, facial expressions, posture, and tone of voice. Your hearing aids won't help you catch every word that is said, especially in a loud place.
  • Wear your hearing aids. The more you wear them, especially at the beginning, the faster you will get used to them.

It may take from several weeks to months for you to get used to your hearing aids. You may find that:

  • Sounds seem strange. It's good to remember that hearing aids will not make you hear like you used to. If noises are so loud and uncomfortable that they are keeping you from wearing your hearing aids, tell your hearing aid provider.
  • You hear things you haven't heard in a long time. For example, you may hear background noises (rustling papers, clinking silverware) much more clearly.
  • You are more aware of sounds close to you. Your footsteps, heartbeat, or car motor may be much more noticeable. With time, your brain will get better at ignoring these sounds.
  • Your hearing aids can be uncomfortable. But they should not be painful. Before you leave the hearing aid provider's office with your new hearing aids, make sure they fit. Your hearing aid should not hurt your ear or be loose in your ear.
  • Sometimes your hearing aids will make a buzzing noise when you use a cell phone. This noise can be annoying, and it can make it hard to hear the person on the phone. If you use a cell phone, make sure your hearing aid provider knows. Your provider can suggest hearing aids that work better with cell phones. And when you buy a new cell phone, buy one that is compatible with hearing aids.

For information on helping your child get used to wearing hearing aids, see daily hearing aid use for your child.


Adaptation Date: 2/28/2024

Adapted By: Alberta Health Services

Adaptation Reviewed By: Alberta Health Services

Adapted with permission from copyrighted materials from Healthwise, Incorporated (Healthwise). This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty and is not responsible or liable for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.