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Approximately 30 million U.S. citizens have a magnitude of hearing loss that is sufficient to benefit from hearing aids. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, only 5 to 6 million U.S. citizens currently wear hearing aids. This entry reviews the basic function of hearing aids and provides information on some of the latest advances in hearing aid technology.

Basic Functions

Hearing aids consist of a microphone(s) that converts the incoming acoustic signal to an electrical signal that is a duplication of the acoustic spectrum of the incoming signal. This conversion is followed by an amplifier that magnifies the signal received from the microphone. This stage is typically followed by a multichannel digital signal processor (DSP) that manipulates the amplified signal to match the magnitude and configuration of ...

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