If you suspect you have hearing loss, the first step to hearing better and improving your quality of life is to have a comprehensive hearing evaluation. If it is determined that you have hearing loss, your audiologist may recommend getting professionally fitted for hearing aids.
Today, people with hearing loss have more choices than ever before when it comes to the hearing aids they wear. There is no doubt that today’s hearing aids are better. When choosing the right hearing aids for your unique needs, your audiologist will explore the different options to determine which hearing aid technology is best for you.
The latest hearing aid technology: Digital signal processing
From analog technology to digital signal processing (DSP), hearing aid technology has come a long way in recent years. Modern hearing aids use micro computer chips to amplify sounds selectively. This allows for a more individualized response.
Here’s how it works: DSP converts the sound waves into digital signals. The micro computer chip then evaluates the digital signals in order to determine the pitch and frequency of the sound and to identify whether the sound is background noise or music. Adjustments are then automatically made to emphasize the most important sounds, such as speech. These sounds are free of distortion, amplified, and clear, which improves listening comfort and listening ability.
Digital signal processing has a lot of advantages over analog technology. It increases programming flexibility and customization for hearing aids in order to match individual patterns of hearing loss. Loud sounds can be better managed for improved comfort. There is improved precision when it comes to setting gain for each pitch. Acoustic feedback can be better controlled and noise can be reduced.
Furthermore, because many of these hearing aids can store a variety of different programs, volume control can be adjusted automatically when your listening environment changes.
Modern hearing aid technology also allows for a variety of features to choose from, like the three described below.
1. Features to consider: Wireless connectivity
Traditionally, hearing aids worked independently of one another. However, thanks to wireless connectivity, they can now communicate. This allows wearers to better detect the environment around them and improve hearing ability, as it offers the benefit of hearing with both ears.
Wireless technology, using Bluetooth technology and digital magnetic transmission methods, also allows wearers to connect to personal external devices without having to be plugged in. Users can connect to their smartphones, iPods, computers, TVs, and more, which improves their experience with hearing aids by reducing interference and improving speech recognition in noise.
2. Features to consider: Telecoil
Telecoil is a highly recommended feature in modern hearing aids. It allows hearing aid wearers to use the magnetic telecoils found in telephones and other devices to improve listening comfort. The hearing aid’s microphone can be turned off, which reduces the “whistling” sounds that are often associated with using external devices while wearing hearing aids.
Other than the phone, the telecoil feature can also be used with other compatible hearing assistive technology, such as sound systems in public places that use frequency modulation or induction loop installation.
3. Features to consider: Direct audio input
With direct audio input, hearing aid users can simply and easily plug their hearing aids into a remote microphone or an FM assistive listening system, such as a radio, computer, MP3 player, CD player, or television.
When you’re plugged in, you’ll be able to hear sounds from devices that don’t offer wireless connectivity.
Some of the exciting new technology at Associated Audiologists includes ReSound LINXTM, ReSound LINX2, Widex Unique, Widex Dream, and Widex Beyond. Schedule an appointment to learn about the new hearing aid technology features you can choose from.