What Do Advanced Hearing Aids Have to Offer?
Hearing aids come in a variety of types, functions, shapes and sizes. There is a wide range of options depending on the hearing, needs and preferences of the user. But the question is, which one should you choose for you? The vast array of hearing aids available means that often, buyers can be overwhelmed and confused. This might even leave them frustrated by having the innumerable classifications and choices of hearing aids. It is essential that you seek guidance from an audiologist about which hearing aid is right for you. A professional audiologist will guide you through the many options and offer impartial advice, so you can choose the right hearing aid for your needs and budget. There is a wide range of devices from those with basic features to advanced, and we offer a brief overview of some of those features here.
Also read: Types of Hearing Aids
Characteristics of Advanced Hearing Aids
1. Digital Noise Reduction
The most significant difference between advanced hearing aids and basic hearing aids is the sound quality in noisy places. Advanced hearing aids have more and better digital noise reduction features. This is often the biggest concern of hearing aid users. Our world is filled with competing noises and the ability to focus the sound on those we want to hear (usually voices) and reduce the impact of noises such as crowds, cutlery and car engine noise is difficult but important. Advanced hearing aids are more effective at this task, while still aiming to give a natural and clear signal.
2. Feedback Reduction
Feedback is the whistling sound that many people associate with older style and more basic hearing aids. It is amplified sound escaping from the hearing aid speaker and being reamplified by the microphone in a loop. There are a number of ways an audiologist can control and reduce feedback, even in basic hearing aids. However, with advanced hearing aids, there are features to digitally detect and reduce feedback so that the audiologist does not need to make other adjustments. This often means there is no compromise in comfort, discretion, sound quality or clarity.
3. Binaural Processing
Binaural processing allows communication between a set of hearing aids. Meaning, there can be an exchange of settings and signals with one another. This is an important feature because it mimics the brain’s natural way of processing sound. By using the signals from both ears together, it is possible to sort speech (that you want to hear) from interfering background noise. This feature also helps the brain locate the direction a sound is coming from.
4. Signal Channels
Advanced hearing aids generally have more channels that can separately process sound signals at each pitch. Advanced hearing aids often have 8 or more discrete channels at which sound can be adjusted automatically by the hearing aid or manually by your audiologist. More precise fine tuning of the sound means a better chance of excellent sound quality that meets your individual preferences.
5. Wind Reduction
Wind is a specific type of unwanted noise that can be bothersome for people with hearing loss and difficult for hearing aids to reduce. Advanced hearing aids often have wind reduction features that can effectively reduce the interference of wind. Therefore, it gives you a more comfortable and quality hearing experience.
6. Automatic Features
Advanced hearing aid technology can automatically adjust depending on the environment setting you are in. Advanced hearing aids are constantly analysing the environment and deciding how to present different sounds to the user. For example, when walking into a noisy restaurant an advanced hearing aid is more likely to make automatic adjustments to reduce the interference of the crowd noise and while still keeping the voices you want to hear clearly. In this way, there is a lesser need for manual adjustments in volume and settings.
7. Smartphone Compatibility
Many advanced hearing aids now connect by Bluetooth to smartphones. This has two advantages: using the smartphone to make adjustments as if using a remote control, and directly transmitting phone calls and other audio directly into the hearing aid microphones. The latter allows for a clearer sound when making phone calls and can also act as a hands-free system. Using a smartphone as a remote control, for example to change the volume, can give users more control over the sound while still being discrete. Nobody would need to know you are changing the settings of your hearing aid!
The main features of advanced hearing aids are described above. However, there are many more considerations when choosing a hearing aid, which a professional audiologist will guide you through. Basic or advanced, the only common goal here is to better the quality of your hearing experience. The audiologists at Medical Audiology Services are experts in finding the solution that fits your needs and budget.
How do you want your listening experience to be? Care to let us know?
Browse through our articles and blogs for more insights. If you have questions, you are always welcome to ask us about it.
Related article: Hearing aids and Hearing Tests