Hearing aid technology has come a long way in a short time, providing many benefits to hearing aid users. As technology becomes more sophisticated, hearing aids are better able to assist their users and replicate natural sounds.
There are all sorts of benefits to using hearing aids, and newer hearing aid technology continues to grow the list of advantages for people with hearing loss. Ear-to-ear connectivity is one of those advantages of newer hearing aids, which provides many benefits for users.
The Wireless Revolution
Wireless technology has given society everything from smartphones to WiFi hotspots to GPS trackers in something as small as a watch.
It should be no surprise wireless technology has been adopted by hearing aid manufacturers. The technology has transformed hearing aids from simple sound amplifiers to powerful tools to connect people to the world around them. Today’s wireless hearing aid technology allows users to connect to devices such as smartphones and tablets. They can even connect to closed sound systems, such as those in an auditorium or theater, to improve their experience.
Communicating between Ears
Wireless technology has also allowed for hearing aids to connect to each other. For people who need to wear a device in both ears, this is a vast improvement: Their devices can now “talk” to each other, relaying information about the sound environment and automatically adjusting to it.
Volume levels can be adjusted automatically, which is a huge help when the volume in one ear might be increased if your dinner partner is sitting to your left, while the volume of the other device might decrease. Noise cancellation might be increased for one device.
Essentially, these advances allow separate devices to work together to create a more holistic soundscape for the hearing aid user.
Binaural Signal Processing
Ear-to-ear connectivity also helps hearing aid users in other ways. One of the advantages is the improvement of binaural sound processing. People without hearing loss use both ears to help them locate sounds. With the introduction of multiple microphones and ear-to-ear connectivity, hearing aid users with separate devices can now process signals in both ears, allowing them to more naturally process sound.
This ability to process sounds in both ears simultaneously also allows for the production of more natural listening. Since human beings process sound in both ears simultaneously, it’s important for both ears to process sounds all around. This not only helps in locating the source of noises, but also in simply picking up different pitches and tones while also controlling for non-speech sounds.
Sound travels; depending on where the source of a noise is located, it will take longer for the sound to reach one ear over the other. For people using two devices, this reality would sometimes make hearing aid use a struggle when one device would process a noise before it even reached the other ear. In most cases, the lag was almost imperceptible, but it could become very noticeable if one device was, say, low on battery or worse, not adjusted appropriately.
Ear-to-ear connectivity can improve the synchronization between ears, allowing them to better compensate. The result is improved benefit, allowing people to process sound more naturalistically, in real time—for easier and more natural listening.
Obviously, the goal of any hearing aid technology is to improve the user’s hearing performance. Ear-to-ear connectivity, enabled by wireless hearing aid technology, meets this goal, helping hearing aid users everywhere hear their best.
When you book an appointment with Associated Audiologists, you get professional advice from a doctoral-level audiologist and learn all the ways new technology can improve your hearing.