Hearing aid features and technology
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 professionally certified 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 establish and provide quality, convenient, caring, and comprehensive state-of-the-art hearing care services.
Latest hearing aid technology
Hearing aids have developed from using analog technology to using micro computer chips that digitally process signals to selectively amplify the sounds for an individualized response. Digital programmable hearing aids use digital signal processing (DSP) to convert sound waves into digital signals. A computer chip in the 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 DSP:
- Better precision in setting the appropriate gain for each pitch
- More flexibility for individual adjustments
- Management of loud sounds for comfort
- Control of acoustic feedback (whistling sounds)
- Noise reduction
- Automatic volume control and program changes
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 — One of the most significant developments in hearing aid technology that reflects the benefits of two normally hearing ears using hearing aid systems. 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 and detect the environment around you.
- Telecoil — This highly recommended feature allows the use of a magnetic telecoil for the phone and other special circumstances. You can talk on the phone without your hearing aid “whistling” because the hearing aid’s microphone is turned off. This feature can also be used with other hearing assistive technology that is telecoil-compatible, including locations with induction loop or frequency modulation (FM) installations on their sound systems. Some hearing aids have a combination “M/T” (microphone/telecoil) feature so that, while listening with an induction loop, you can still hear nearby conversation through the microphone.
- Direct audio input — This capability allows you to plug in a remote microphone or an FM assistive listening system, which may include your TV, computer, CD player, MP3 player, or radio.
Some of the exciting new technology we now have available includes Widex Unique, Widex Dream, ReSound LINXTM and ReSound LINX2.