First Step To Finding A Hearing Aid

Recent improvements in hearing aid technology have made this an exciting time, with more choices than ever for you. When searching for the right hearing aid, it’s important to begin by locating a doctoral-level audiologist. Your audiologist will explore the various hearing aid options with you to determine which technology best meets your needs. This is consistent with the Associated Audiologists mission to improve lives through comprehensive audiology care.

Understanding How Hearing Aid Technology Works

Hearing aids have developed from using analog technology to using microcomputer chips that digitally process signals to selectively amplify the sounds for an individualized response. Digital hearing aids use digital signal processing (DSP) to convert sound waves into digital signals. A computer chip in the hearing aid analyzes the signals to determine the frequency, or pitch, of the sound and whether the sound is music or background noise. It then makes modifications to provide a clear, amplified, distortion-free signal, emphasizing the most important sounds.

DSP also allows for more flexibility in programming the aid for each individual, matching your specific pattern of hearing loss.

The following are the benefits of new hearing aid technology:

  • Better precision in setting the appropriate gain for each frequency

  • “Smart” processing such as machine learning and SoundSense adapt

  • More flexibility for individual adjustments

  • Management of loud sounds for comfort

  • Control of acoustic feedback (whistling sounds)

  • Advanced noise management

  • Automatic volume control and program changes

  • Bluetooth streaming and advanced accessories for improved connectivity

Many hearing aids can store several programs. As your listening environment changes, these hearing aids will automatically adjust the settings. Other hearing aids without stored programs will still allow you to manually change the settings to suit your surroundings. All hearing aids can be re-programmed by your audiologist if your hearing loss or hearing needs change.

Consider the following technologies when choosing the best hearing aids for you:

Wireless Connectivity

— This is one of the most significant developments in hearing aid technology that is based on how two normal ears work together. Traditionally, hearing aids functioned independently of one another. Now, they can communicate with one another, providing many of the benefits of hearing with two ears, improving your ability to hear fully, more naturally, and better detect the environment and speech around you.

Direct Streaming to Bluetooth/Cell Phone

— Some premium-level hearing aids feature Bluetooth connectivity. These models allow for seamless integration between the hearing aids and newer cell phone technology. This means you can stream your phone calls and music directly from your cell phone to your hearing aids, giving you better sound quality, clarity, and stereo listening.

Smartphone Remote App Features

— Premium-level hearing aids can also connect with your smartphone through an app that works with both iOS and Android-based systems. This puts control over your hearing aid at your fingertips. You can change volume settings in each individual device and make other unique adjustments to suit your preferences and your environment. These apps are easy to use, and allow you to adjust everything from the microphones’ directionality to specific sound settings to suit any given environment.

Hearing Aid Accessories

— Premium-level hearing aids have exciting technology available to improve your hearing when talking on the phone, listening to the TV or communicating with family and friends in complex environments where there is background noise or you cannot clearly see the speaker’s face. These devices utilize wireless connectivity and Bluetooth accessories to improve the listening experience.

Three such accessories include a remote mic, or spouse mic, that streams your conversation partner’s voice directly to your hearing aids; a television listening device that streams program sound directly to your hearing aids; and a device that streams calls and music directly to your hearing aids. Each of these is sold separately, but can improve listening enjoyment and hearing aid performance significantly.

Some of the exciting new hearing aid technology we now have available which features these advanced options includes Widex Moment, Phonak Paradise, ReSound One, Starkey Livo and Signia brands.