Hearing Aid Technology: 10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know
Hearing aids have helped millions around the world to hear clearly again. What many people don’t know, however, is just how far they’ve come over the years! Hearing aid technology has never been more effective – and in this article, we will take a look at some intriguing facts about hearing aid devices and the technology they use.
Hearing Aids Can Help People of All Ages
Hearing loss can affect millions of people at different stages of their life. One misconception is older people mostly use hearing aids. However, advances in technology mean that people of all ages experiencing hearing impairment stand to benefit from using a range of hearing aid types. People who may benefit from hearing aid technology can include:
- People who suffer from tinnitus, or ‘ringing in the ears’
- People who need to strain their hearing to take part in conversations
- People who are particularly sensitive to noisy environments
- People dependent upon a face-to-face conversation
- People who have difficulty maintaining regular audio volume
- People who can hear others – but may not be able to understand what they are saying
They Actively Remedy Tinnitus’ Effects
As mentioned briefly, tinnitus sufferers can now use hearing aids to relieve themselves from various symptoms. This condition occurs in around 30% of people and is largely determined by a ‘buzzing’ or ‘ringing’ in the ears. While it is not normally regarded as a severe disorder, it can cause frustration and concern for regular sufferers.
Modern hearing aid technology can help sufferers in a variety of ways:
- They can help to reduce active buzzing or ringing
- They can be tailored to offer clarity of hearing on a bilateral (both ear) basis
- Open-fit hearing aids can amplify noise without blocking out essential external sound
- Combination devices, which create sound alongside hearing aid amplification, can help to eradicate unwanted ringing
Hearing Aids Can Adjust to Background Noise
One of the most commons misconceptions about hearing aids is that they only amplify your hearing. Modern hearing aid technology is a little more precise – particularly those with directional control. The idea of hearing aids being able to filter out background noise has been around for some time, but it is only in recent years that this technology has been refined.
Digital hearing aids and directional microphones can be used to focus amplification upon a specific sound source. Therefore, technology can effectively bypass anything that is irrelevant or background noise. Noise control technology in digital hearing models allows users to fine-tune their experience from situation to situation.
Modern Hearing Aids Are Almost Completely Invisible
Regardless of how hearing aids operate, incredible work has continued into developing discreet earpieces for millions of users. Hearing aid technology can now be comfortably adjusted to sit within your ear canal, providing you with the clarity and amplification you require.
Prior hearing aid models were easier to see on users. That has, over the years, led to some embarrassment for regular users. Not everyone wants everyone else to know that they suffer from hearing loss!
With this in mind, hearing aid engineers and designers have been able to create earpieces which are virtually invisible to the naked eye. Therefore, users can continue to enjoy clear hearing with confidence – no matter what they do. Some younger users may even opt for a designer or stylized hearing aid!
Induction Loops Are Available More Widely Than Ever Before
Induction loops, which can be used to transmit audio, have been available for hearing aid users, to tune into for years. Induction loop systems have been fine-tuned to an incredible extent over the past 25 to 30 years. This technology has provided hearing aid users with greater clarity of hearing in more places than ever before. Thanks to a rise in hearing loss awareness, loops have been fitted in areas and scenarios as diverse as:
- Cinemas and theatres
- Concert halls
- Churches and cathedrals
- Live events and outdoor concerts
- Festivals and displays
- Stadiums and sports grounds
- Taxi cabs, trains, and buses
- Waiting rooms
- Nursing and care homes
Hearing aid telecoils pick up on a magnetic field transmitted by induction loops, which means sound can be tailored to each user’s needs. It’s technology that may be deceptively simple, but which continues to offer entertainment, comfort, and support to millions.
Digital Hearing Aids Are Older Than You Think
The creation of hearing aid technology can be attributed to the likes of Werner Von Siemens, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell. Beyond their years, however, the technology has slowly been refined over the decades. Bell Telephone Laboratories were responsible for the very first digital hearing aids back in the early 1960s!
However, these models were very different compared to those regularly used today. Technology at that time required the hearing aids to be controlled by a separate computer mainframe. This means that – even in the mid-20th century – the idea that an, aid could be carried around in the ear was pure fantasy!
However, the development of the microprocessor allowed for hearing aid technology to rapidly evolve throughout the 1970s. Daniel Graupe is credited with developing the six-channel hearing aid in 1975, leading to further digital advancements in the years to follow.
Whistling and Echoes are a Thing of the Past
Any stories you may have heard or read about annoying hearing aid feedback – such as whistling – are mostly irrelevant. The development of hearing aid technology over the years has seen the need to iron out a number of comfort issues. Hearing aid users of years gone by may have suffered from background noise, echoing and more besides.
Current digital hearing aid types, however, can now be fine-tuned to filter out and avoid extraneous noise to a fault. Sound clarity and audio quality have been maximized over the years to provide lossless, crystal-clear hearing for as many users as possible.
Hearing Aids Can Now Work with Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a modern wireless audio standard that allows speakers, headphones, music systems and more to communicate with each other. Hearing aid technology development has advanced to the extent that you are now able to stream signals from Bluetooth devices directly to your aid. While there are no specific ‘Bluetooth hearing aids’ available for purchase, there are more than a few workarounds.
Apple, for example, has enabled their devices to operate with a variety of hearing aid devices. This means that, if you have an iPhone or iPad, you can connect your hearing aids for direct audio. That is excellent news for anyone who is tired of having to remove their hearing aids to use earphones or earbuds instead.
Wireless hearing aids can easily be paired with a range of Bluetooth enabled devices. You can also make use of a separate streamer which can bridge the connection between your device and your hearing aids. All in all, this means you can hear your phone or tablet without having to muddle around with extra cables!
Waterproof Hearing Aids Lead the Way
It wasn’t too long ago that hearing aid users weren’t even able to shower or swim while wearing their pieces. That, thankfully, has changed dramatically. Many leading types of hearing aids come with waterproofing and protection included as standard. That means, up to a certain depth, you can now submerge your hearing aids in water – without fear of them malfunctioning.
This is just one way in which hearing aids have been developed over the years to fit our lifestyles better. Hearing aid technology is focused on the convenience of use more than ever. That’s great news for anyone worried about the changes that wearing such technology can bring!
You May Need More Than One Hearing Aid – Without Realizing It
Many people opt for a single hearing aid to remedy hearing loss or other conditions. What you may not know, however, is that two could well be better than one. This, again, is thanks to the advances made in hearing aid technology over the years.
Some hearing aid types arrive in pairs already, known as bilateral aids. Bilateral hearing aids work to essentially balance loudness between your ears, and to help reduce background noise. Research conducted over the years suggests that only using one hearing aid impacts upon listening focus. After all, we are born with two ears – it makes sense to use them both!
To this end, many doctors and specialists recommend the binaural approach. Wearing two hearing aids enables the user to refine sound localization. And that means, with a device balanced to each air, you will be able to locate where sounds are coming from easier. For maximum clarity in audio, two aids are indeed better than one – and they may even be able to remedy symptoms of tinnitus.
If you are considering the benefits of hearing aids or would like to know more about hearing aids cost, Best Hearing Aid will always be happy to support you. Let us help you find the right hearing aid for your needs – call (800) 376-6001 today.