Advances in Hearing Aid Technology

October 12, 2015

Are you experiencing hearing loss but just accept it as an “accumulation of birthdays”? Have others told you it’s something you will have to live with because hearing aids won’t help or are too expensive? While it is true that our hearing diminishes as we age, it doesn’t mean we have to stop communicating or change our lifestyle to avoid the difficult listening situations. If you are at an age in life that you plan to reap the benefits of your hard work, don’t let a hearing loss deprive you of that enjoyment. With a simple test and a quick conversation, your Doctor of Audiology can determine the severity of your hearing loss and give you the solutions to put your life back on track, at any age.

The first step in determining the extent of your hearing loss is to schedule a hearing test with an Audiologist. This simple, non-invasive test will help your Audiologist determine if you need amplification (hearing aids) to correct your problem, and if so, the type of hearing aids that will work best for you. New advancements in technology mean you’ll have several types of hearing aids or manufacturers to choose from. Working with your Audiologist, you’ll be able to find the right solution for your hearing loss and your budget. The majority of hearing aids today are fully digital instruments. Many people do not realize there are two types of hearing aids: analog and digital. Until just a few years ago, all hearing aids were analog, but new technology advancements have provided us with digital hearing aids that have far surpassed their predecessor, the analog hearing aid.

Analog Hearing Aids
Analog hearing aids provide better hearing by using a continuous electrical signal to produce sound, much like a microphone and speaker system you might see at a concert or while singing karaoke. These sounds are then amplified and sent into the ear canal, allowing you to hear the sounds around you. Analog hearing aids are not generally less expensive than digital models but have less features and less adjustability. Analog hearing aids look and feel just like digital hearing aids in every way but are limited in what they can provide the listener at a similar price to the newer digital hearing aids. There really isn’t a good reason to purchase an analog hearing aid any longer.

Digital Hearing Aids

Digital hearing aids are increasingly popular on the market now with many different makes and models available. Their popularity has increased in the last few years because of design and size, as well as advantages not seen in the analog hearing aids. Some of these advantages are feedback suppression, noise reduction and wireless connectivity.

Digital hearing aids have eliminated most of the noise generated by the instrument when sound gets trapped or squeezes around the instrument and is then reamplified. We call this noise “feedback.” Feedback can occur with jaw movement or getting too close to an object. Advancements in hearing aid technology have also been able to significantly reduce the background noise that was so annoying to users when out in a crowd. A common complaint of a person with hearing loss is not being able to determine the direction of a sound they hear. With the directional microphone system available in some digital hearing aids this is no longer an issue. Digital hearing aids are now available in extremely small models, making them much less obvious when worn in or behind the ear. Digital hearing aids can be customized to your specific needs, based on your Doctor of Audiology’s evaluation of your hearing loss. Newer technology also allows for Bluetooth connectivity to systems that have an audio output, such as your TV and cell phone.

Exciting new technology advancements have brought us a long way from the first hearing aids, worn over the ear and attached by wire to a box on your chest, to the tiny hearing aids of today. There are choices for every lifestyle and budget. Working alongside your Doctor of Audiology, you will be able to find the instrument that works best for you.

Give us a call today, and let our Audiologists introduce you to the newest, state-of-the-art digital hearing aids.