If you have hearing loss, you likely have problems hearing and understanding speech. And even if you wear hearing aids, they sometimes may not be enough to help you hear and understand what is being communicated in some complex settings.
According to the Hearing Loss Association of America, that’s because often, turning the volume up on your hearing aids isn’t enough to help. Even though the latest technology is better than ever at helping you hear in background noise, hearing aids still have a limited effective range, amplifying most sound, without being able to separate the background noise from the voices and sounds you want to hear, especially in crowded rooms such as in restaurants or at parties.
In addition to noise, distance and environment may affect hearing ability. The farther hearing aid microphones are from what you want to hear, the less likely you will be able to hear and understand what’s being said. Likewise, popular design elements such as open concept rooms, bare walls and floors, high ceilings, and floors and walls with many angles all contribute to poor acoustic conditions that can hamper the ability to hear.
Thankfully, assistive listening devices, which include remote microphones, are available. Remote microphones are personal technology that can help you communicate better in one-to-one conversations. These hand-held devices bring the sound you want to hear closer to your ears, capturing the sound you want to hear and filtering out some background noise.
How would you use a remote mic? Let’s say you’re at a large family gathering and trying to talk with a relative you haven’t seen for years, but you’re having trouble hearing over the chatter. With a remote mic, you would just ask the relative to clip on or speak into the microphone. The sound is then transmitted directly to your hearing aids, reducing competing noise so you can understand your conversation partner more clearly, in this case your relative.
If you happen to wear Widex Moment hearing aids, a new device called Sound Assist now can help improve communication in a variety of situations. Widex Sound Assist is a small square-shaped device that can connect to Widex Moment hearing aids, acting as a remote microphone to stream sound to the individual’s hearing aids.
Sound Assist offers:
- Partner microphone mode – One-to-one conversations with friends and family sound clear wherever they are. This can be clipped on to the clothing of your communication partner for direct streaming of their speech into your hearing aids.
- Table microphone mode – Hear important meetings, lively dinners, and group conversations more easily. The microphone can sit in the center of the table or closer to someone you have difficulty hearing.
- Hands-free phone calls – Great sounding calls on the go.
- Streaming mode – Audio streaming from a connected Bluetooth device to your hearing aid. This would allow streaming from a computer such as during a Zoom or video call.
- Remote control for Widex Moment Bluetooth hearing aids – Lets the individual control their sound easily. The remote microphone is also a miniature remote control to adjust the hearing aids.
Another option to help boost hearing aid performance and bridge the understanding gap is Roger FM. This wireless microphone has been available for a couple of years and is helpful for all, but especially for those with poor speech clarity, a greater degree of hearing loss, or anyone who needs to hear well from a distance. It has the capability to work with a larger variety of Widex and Phonak hearing aid models.
There are other remote mics and assistive technology available. If your hearing needs a boost, schedule an appointment with a doctoral-level audiologist to discuss the latest options.