You are aware of technological advancement; it happens all around you and faster than ever before. Computers are not what they were in the late 1990s, and smartphones have changed dramatically from 10 years ago.
One area you may not think of as a hotbed of technological advancement is hearing technology. But hearing technology is undergoing rapid change as companies strive to help people with hearing loss hear more effectively than ever before. Here are just a handful of the latest advancements in hearing technology.
6. Automatic Programs
As technology gets smarter, it is better able to adapt to the environment. A case in point is that many hearing aids now come with automatic programs. Whereas users were once forced to select a program to suit what they were listening to—such as a speech program for conversation or the music program when they wanted to listen to the radio—hearing aids are now able to detect and shift between these programs automatically. This can help you hear even better, since you no longer have to guess which program is going to best suit your current circumstances.
5. Digital Adaptive Directional Microphones
Newer digital hearing aids include two microphones, which help detect which direction a sound is coming from. Noises from sources behind you can then be controlled, which helps enable better speech recognition. Advanced hearing aids are actually equipped with adaptive microphones that follow the source of the sound, allowing you to keep track of conversations even as someone else moves around the room.
4. Wind Noise Reduction
Do you spend a lot of time outdoors? Maybe you like to golf, walk or go boating. Whatever the case, wind is a part of your life—and until recently, it meant bad things for people who wear hearing aids. New technologies have improved the ability to reduce noise such as wind, which improves your ability to hear in outdoor conditions or experience more comfortable listening. Like other technologies that reduce background noise, hearing aids employing this feature help control the wind noise, making it more tolerable to be outside.
3. Getting Connected
Chances are you have a smartphone or another device, such as a tablet or a computer, which you use with some frequency. New hearing aid technology allows users to connect with their favorite devices. Bluetooth technology allows you to connect to any device you like—such as your TV, your stereo, or your digital tablet.
Developers have also created apps that allow people with certain hearing aids to connect seamlessly with their mobile devices. That means your hearing aid interacts with your phone to help you hear even better! That’s great news if you use the phone to stay in touch with your loved ones.
With hearing aids, function almost always comes over form. But if your device doesn’t fit in your ear or is uncomfortable to wear, it doesn’t matter how many advanced features you have on it—you won’t hear better because you won’t wear it!
That’s changing, however, as technological advances allow manufacturers to focus more and more on comfort. Increasing customization allows qualified audiologists and other practitioners to ensure that your device is fitted to your ear. That means wearing your hearing aid just got more comfortable.
Fortunately, with the wide variety of modern-looking hearing aids, the old idea of bulky-looking hearing aids is a thing of the past. Hearing aids are available to match your skin tone, or stand out from the crowd in bright colors. Some hearing aid wearers have even found ways to improve the look of their devices. In 2010, a student at a school for the deaf noticed that her female classmates attempted to hide their hearing aids. This prompted her to design jewelry for hearing aids!
Technological advances mean that hearing aids have become smaller and less intrusive; many of them are hardly noticeable, and manufacturers are actively working to make newer devices even more attractive.
Click here to schedule an appointment with one of our doctoral-level audiologists.