If you’re like most people in Boone, Jefferson or Linville, you probably picture hearing aids as bulky, unsightly devices with limited functionality. While that may have been true a generation ago, today’s hearing aid technology has resulted in smaller instruments that incorporate digital signal processing, microchips, advanced computerization and other cutting-edge technologies to provide excellent sound quality. Many hearing aids are so tiny, people might not even realize you are wearing them. But even if they notice, not to worry: any stigma associated with hearing aids is long gone!
If you are a brand new hearing aid user, you’ll be surprised to learn how technologically advanced today’s devices are. Even if you’ve been wearing them for years, the changes in technology will probably still impress you. It may be time for an upgrade!
We’ll discuss some of the most popular technical features below.
Once upon a time, hearing aids were strictly analog. But in much the same way that digital technology has changed the way we take pictures and use telephones, it has also improved upon the hearing aid experience.
Digital programming relies on converting sound waves into digital signals through the use of digitized sound processing. A computer chip built into the hearing aid determines whether the signal is speech or noise, and converts it into a clear, amplified signal. The advantages are plentiful: improved sound quality, advanced programming options, a more precise fit, and a bevy of features designed to improve or enhance functionality.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Bluetooth® technology. This wireless communication platform allows a variety of electronic devices, including computers, smartphones, and MP3 players, to communicate with one another through the exchange of data. Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids allow users to stream signals from these devices and others directly to their aids, making them more versatile and convenient than ever. You can make phone calls, listen to music, watch TV, and more through your hearing aids, without disturbing others around you.
The newest breakthrough in hearing aid technology is rechargeable batteries. Most hearing aid manufacturers now offer rechargeable options, freeing users in North Carolina and throughout the country from the hassle of dealing with disposable batteries and saving them money in the long term. Lithium-ion batteries provide up to 24 hours of performance with a single charge, meaning you can wear your hearing aids all day long without fear of them running out of power. Many do offer disposable battery backups just in case.
Other Hearing Aid Technologies
A few other breakthroughs in hearing aid technology include:
· Gain processing. This reduces background and microphone noise for a clearer sound.
· Digital feedback reduction. Built-in cancellation systems reduce or eliminate feedback.
· Digital noise reduction. This reduces background noises for improved speech recognition.
· Directional microphones. Dual microphones allow one to focus on the sound source while the other decreases background noise, giving you better directionality.
· Automatic programming. Preset programs adjust automatically to different sound environments, giving you the best listening experience depending on your situation.
As you can see, hearing aid technology has progressed in leaps and bounds. If you are having trouble hearing, have been diagnosed with hearing loss, or are already a hearing aid user, talk to your Boone, Jefferson, or Linville audiologist for information on the latest hearing aids.