I was going through some old email from an HOH listserv I was a member of and this post really paints a vivid picture of how to explain to hearing people what hearing aids are like:
If I were a paraplegic I could not walk. If I got a wheelchair...I could move around but there would have to be certain accomodations made for me (wider doorways, ramps, etc). Hearing aids, although they are invisible to most people, are the hard of hearing persons "wheelchair". We are never going to be able to "walk" like the rest of them...but with accommodations and understand...we can get around (or in our case, socialize, converse, interact).