Hearing Aid Technology
Hearing aids use a microphone, processor, and receiver to collect, amplify, process and deliver sound. These electronics control how sound moves from the environment to your inner ear. Most hearing aid manufacturers only produce digital hearing aids.
Digital Hearing Aids
With digital technology, a computer chip changes the incoming sound into digital code. Next, the chip carefully studies and adjusts the sound based on your hearing loss, listening needs, and the sound levels around you. Changes to the sound are made by the audiologist who programs the hearing aid processor for your individual needs. The signals are then changed back into sound waves and delivered to your ears. The result is sound that’s more finely tuned for your hearing loss. Digital hearing aids are available in different technology levels and price ranges.
Hearing Aid Technology
Hearing aids can look the same on the outside, but have different abilities based on the inside. We offer three hearing aid technology levels. These levels differ in signal processing, noise algorithms, and user adjustments. Our audiologists will help you select the best technology level for your hearing loss and way of living.
1. Premium Level Hearing Aid Technology
High End digital or Premium hearing aids are fully automatic. They use the most advanced noise reduction algorithms. Premium technology is best for individuals who have active lifestyles and spend most of their time in noisy conditions. These hearing aids are designed to work well in the hardest listening situations. High end digital hearing aids give the audiologist the most control. Especially, when they adjust the frequency gain for sloping and hard to fit hearing losses.
2. Mid-Level Hearing Aid Technology
Mid-Level digital hearing aids are automatic hearing aids, but they use a more basic noise reduction algorithm. They are for people who spend little time in noisy environments. They are best for wearers who don't have large differences in hearing loss levels across frequencies.
3. Entry Level Hearing Aid Technology
Entry Level digital hearing aids are non-automatic hearing aids that require users to make manual adjustments. Patients may need to push a button to reduce noise when they are in a difficult listening situation or adjust their volume control to regulate loudness. The programming adjustments are limited with this type of technology. For example, low and high frequencies can be adjusted, but not specific frequencies. Limits in fine tuning are most problematic if you have an unusual pattern to your hearing loss. This level of technology is most appropriate for individuals who are mostly in quiet environments. Also, this level is better for wearers with generally the same amount of hearing loss across all frequencies.
Hearing Aid Features
Hearing aid options that improve your ability to hear in certain situations:
Directional microphones pick up sounds coming from in front of you while reducing sounds coming from behind you. This technology improves your ability to hear in noisy environments and reduces your listening effort. Usually, you’ll have both a regular microphone and a directional microphone, so you can switch between the two types. Some hearing aids automatically switch between the regular and directional modes.
Sophisticated algorithms examine the environment for undesirable noises. Once noise is detected, the hearing aid reduces unwanted sounds to make listening easier and more comfortable.
The hearing aids communicate wirelessly so the devices can operate together. This communication allows for sharing of data and streaming of external sound sources.
Wind Noise Reduction
This feature detects outside wind noise blowing across the microphone. As a result, reducing the wind noise to create a clearer signal.
Feedback Cancellation System
These systems reduce the "whistling" feedback that can happen between the microphone and receiver during the process of amplification. Depending on the sophistication of the feedback technology system, more advanced algorithms can reduce feedback without taking away amplification.
Multiple Listening Programs
Different listening programs can be setup in the hearing aid for different listening situations. For example, a program can be set up for a quiet, noisy, car or music environment. The technology level determines how many dedicated listening programs are available and if they activate automatically.
This feature allows the hearing aid to learn your volume and program preferences in certain listening situations. As a result, the hearing aid can be more successful in operating automatically.
Some hearing aids allow for the use of a remote control to make volume control adjustments or other changes without touching the hearing aid. The remote may also make other adjustments, such as activating the directional microphone or increasing the noise reduction. The newest technology allows you to control the hearing aid through an app on your smartphone. Allowing your smartphone to function as a remote control.
This technology, also referred to as telecoil T switches, makes it easier to hear when talking on the telephone. The telecoil prevents the microphone from picking up sounds from your environment. Therefore, the microphone can focus on sounds from the telephone through electromagnetic energy. Some hearing aids switch automatically when the phone is held up to the hearing aid, while others require flipping a switch. Keep in mind, that this technology works only with telephones that are compatible with hearing aids. You can check with your cell phone provide to see if your smartphone is compatible with a telecoil. Telecoils can also be used with induction loop systems used in theaters and churches.
New hearing aids can receive sound from Bluetooth devices, such as Bluetooth cell phones or TV transmitters. Some hearing aids may require a streamer. The streamer wirelessly picks up the Bluetooth signal from Bluetooth compatible devices and transmits the signal to the hearing aid. You don’t have to hold the phone to your ear or hearing aid to hear the sounds.
Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Hearing aids can be made with lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid batteries. These batteries allow for 24 hour wear on a single charge and can last the life of the hearing aids.
Our ENT Now location offers same day hearing testing and hearing aid appointments. Call to make an appointment or simply walk in to be seen by an audiologist.
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