Hearing aid technology has advanced beyond recognition since then, and so has hearing treatment. During your hearing aid consultation, a Doctor of Audiology will help you determine the most beneficial digital hearing aid technology levels for your hearing loss, lifestyle, and budgetary goals.
- A discussion on how lifestyle & budget dictate technology needs can be found here.
- Some of the primary features associated with digital technology are listed below.
- Improve speech understanding in noisy situations. Among other things, this will help you understand conversation in a noisy restaurant. Directional microphones contain dual microphones and have the ability to focus one microphone towards the sound source while the other works to decrease background noise.
- Directional microphones improve speech understanding, especially when they are coupled with with digital signal processing (noise reduction algorithms).
- Subdues background noise so you can better understand conversation. Digital signal processing algorithms analyze and classify signals as speech, music, noise, or other sounds. Once classified, these algorithms digitally reduce the level of unwanted background noise.
- No hearing aid can completely eliminate background noise, but the noise reduction algorithms in hearing aids can make speech more assessable, especially if they are coupled with directional microphones.
- Hearing aids will not make squealing sounds in public. Whistling (feedback) from a hearing aid occurs when some portion of the amplified sound escapes from the ear canal and gets re-amplified when it reaches the microphone.
- Digital hearing aids can reduce or eliminate whistling by determining and sending a signal opposite the feedback frequencies, thereby canceling each signal.
- Today’s advanced feedback management software cancels or eliminates feedback before it occurs without sacrificing performance.
- Channels affect how a hearing aid operates, while bands affect how a hearing aid is adjusted. The number of channels and bands is most relevant when you consider your lifestyle and hearing needs.
- In general, you will benefit from a greater number of channels and bands if you spend more time in noisy environments. If your lifestyle keeps you in quiet environments you may not need as many channels and bands.
- A discussion on how lifestyle dictates technology needs can be found here.
Wind Noise Reduction
- Very important if you frequently need to communicate outdoors. Wind-noise reduction algorithms cancel out noise caused by wind blowing across hearing-aid microphones.
Data Logging and Learning
- Top-level hearing aids can track, learn, and automatically adjust to a preferred comfort level in different listening environments.
- One of the most significant advances in hearing aid technology. Blue-tooth essentially turns hearing aids into wireless headsets for many electronic devices, including cell phones, TV, MP3 players, iOS devises, computers, GPS devices, FM systems, and more.
Open Fit Technology
- The earpiece of an open fit hearing aid is a small, soft rubber or silicone cap, which is much more comfortable than the tightly fitting earpieces of more traditional designs.
- Open fit keeps the ear canal unobstructed and eliminates the occlusion effect, which can feel like you are “talking in a barrel”.
- Open-ear hearing instruments sit behind the ear like traditional BTEs but are extremely small and nearly invisible to an observer. They have a barely visible, clear, thin tube that extends from behind the ear into the ear canal for transmitting sound.