What to Expect From a Hearing Aid
This information is part of an online guide, Resources for Mainstream Programs
Hearing aids make sounds louder but do not always make sounds clearer. Hearing aids do not fix sound distortions as glasses correct vision. Depending on a student's hearing levels and the degree of distortion in his or her hearing system, a hearing aid will provide different levels of benefit. Think of a radio set between stations-you can make the sound louder, but that does not help you understand what is being transmitted. Do not expect a hearing aid to correct a student's hearing. Each person obtains a unique degree of benefit, satisfaction, and improvement in life quality through a hearing aid.
Possible benefits from amplification include:
- Awareness of sounds for environmental safety (i.e., awareness of car horn, knock on door).
- Ability to differentiate between sounds (without the ability to identify what those sounds are).
- Identification of changes in rhythm, intensity, intonation, and rate of speech to know whether the person is talking quickly or loudly, is happy, is asking a question, or other affective information.
- Ability to monitor one's own voice.
- Ability to use sound to assist in producing individual speech sounds.
- Recognition of a few words when the context of the message and possible choices of what will be said are very limited (i.e., can understand the command "Get your book" when appropriate in the classroom, or when the choices are limited to "Get your book," "Get the pencil," or "Get your coat").
- Recognition of increasing numbers of words and greater detail in sentences.
- Comprehension of most of what is said in an ideal listening environment (i.e., quiet, face to face).
- Comprehension of most conversations, even in adverse listening conditions.