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Hearing amplification in adults

Peter C Weber, MD, FACS
Section Editor
Daniel G Deschler, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Daniel J Sullivan, MD, MPH


Devices that amplify sound are integral to the management of hearing impairment. These include hearing aids, amplified telephones, and portable devices that can be used to amplify the sound coming from electronic systems at public events. Implantable hearing devices (eg, cochlear implants, osseointegrated implants, and electrically driven middle ear implants) are integral in providing hearing for adults in whom traditional hearing amplification devices do not provide adequate hearing.

Hearing amplification devices for adults are discussed here. Hearing amplification devices for children and the differential diagnosis of hearing loss are discussed separately. The evaluation of hearing loss is also discussed separately. (See "Hearing impairment in children: Treatment" and "Etiology of hearing loss in adults" and "Evaluation of hearing loss in adults".)


Most hearing impairments can be helped with a modern hearing aid. Young, middle-aged, and independent older adults who have hearing difficulties that interfere with work and social interactions, and who are highly motivated to improve their hearing, make excellent candidates for hearing amplification [1]. Hearing aids improve hearing-specific health-related quality of life, general health-related quality of life, and listening ability in adults with mild to moderate hearing loss [2].

Identifying appropriate candidates — The first step in providing hearing amplification is for the audiologist, referring clinician, and patient to agree that the patient needs and is likely to benefit from a hearing aid. This mutual decision is based upon:

The audiogram.

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 17, 2017.
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