Advancements in Hearing Aid Technology
By Elizabeth Brassine, Au.D.
Like all high-tech devices, hearing aids have improved significantly over the past several years in terms of performance and advancements. Today’s hearing aids still amplify sounds, but thanks to digital and technological advances, they’re much smarter and more selective in what they amplify. Like phones that now do a lot more than just let you talk to people, hearing aids can do a lot more than just make sounds easier to hear.
Help with Hearing in Noise
One of the biggest challenges people with hearing loss have is hearing in noisy places like restaurants or at social gatherings. It’s not that they can’t hear, it’s that they can’t hear clearly.
It’s all one muddled mass of sound and the voices of the people they’re with don’t stand out.
The best of today’s hearing aids remedy those challenges with directional microphones and noise reduction technology. Programmed specifically to your hearing, they’re designed to help you focus on speech from a certain direction. Noise reduction makes listening more comfortable, allowing you to focus on who or what you want to hear.
One of the most popular new advances is wireless hearing aids. With wireless, sound from your TV, computer or phone is streamed right into your ears at the volume you choose and control. This direct connection results in more immersive, enhanced sound as you’re now able to listen at the volume you want without having to turn the volume up loud in the room.
And innovative accessories enable you to seamlessly switch between different settings (like remote microphone which lets you hear as though you are standing right next to the presenter) and different devices. You can also remotely control your hearing aids.
Other Advances to Ask About
When talking to your audiologist, ask about other features that can have an impact on how your hearing aids sound and perform, including: moisture, wax and oil barrier (advancements in mechanical design and protective coating help make hearing aids wear and wax/oil repellent); channels (additional channels allow your audiologist to create customized settings for different sound frequency ranges; ear-to-ear processing (means that both your hearing aids “work together”) to create a better listening experience.
Elizabeth Brassine is a Doctor of Audiology and the owner of Hearing Services of McKinney.