A variety of hearing aid technologies are available to fit your current hearing levels. In general, hearing aids are available in basic, mid-level and advanced technologies. Typically, devices become more flexible as technology increases and directional microphone technology options increase. Directional microphones are an important feature for improving speech understanding in the presence of background noise. Other factors to consider in your decision regarding the appropriate technology level include:
- degree of hearing loss
- need for flexible programming
- need for multiple listening programs and connectivity needs
Your audiologist will help you explore the various options to meet your hearing needs. For all levels of technology, communication and aural rehabilitation will maximize your communication success.
Advancements in digital hearing technology have resulted in numerous features designed to enhance your experience. Some of the more important advances to consider include:
- Directional Microphones: The use of directional microphones means the hearing device can focus on the sounds coming from a specific direction while reducing sounds from other directions. This feature can increase the ability to understand and communicate.
- Feedback/Whistling Cancellation: Hearing devices with feedback cancellation can detect and then eliminate feedback that causes annoying whistling sounds.
- Open-fit Technology: For some patients, traditional earmolds that fit tightly within the ear canal can cause occlusion… that “plugged up” or “talking in a barrel” sensation. Open-fit earmolds or soft domes allow for a more natural listening experience by keeping the ear canal less obstructed.
- Automatic Adjustments: As environmental conditions change, your device easily adapts to wind and crowd noise.
- Noise Reduction: Advanced signal processing systems evaluate the incoming signal on your device to identify and reduce levels when noise is present. This technology can improve your comfort when listening in noisy environments.
- Customized Programming: Digital technology means your audiologist can program your hearing devices to meet your unique hearing and lifestyle needs.
- Connectivity: The newest technology allows you to connect wirelessly to your cell phone, TV and landline phone through your hearing devices.
MAKING AN INFORMED BUYING DECISION
You should expect to partner with your audiologist to choose the hearing system ideally suited for your personal lifestyle, level of hearing loss, the physical characteristics of your ear canal, cosmetic preferences, manual dexterity and budget.