Features of modern hearing aids
On this page we will discuss features of hearing devices that give comfort, clarity and ease of use for the wearer.
Significant Features of Modern Hearing Aids Include:
Meets fundamental need
The fundamental function of a hearing aid is to amplify sounds. Hearing aids made in the early 1990's were too crude and only amplified sounds in two channels — high pitched sounds (treble) and low-pitched sounds (bass).Modern hearing aids do a better job by separating sound into numerous frequency bands and amplifying each band by the amount required to restore normal hearing levels. Digital hearing aid users don’t just hear two channel sounds, but hear sounds of different pitches clearly.
The continuous whistling sound caused when the hearing aid’s microphone picks up amplified sound is called feedback. Feedback cancellation in digital hearing aids solves this by detecting the frequency of the wave that is causing the feedback within fractions of a second. This successfully cancels the feedback and ensures users of digital hearing aids don’t have to endure annoying whistling.
Open fit acoustic
Until now, wearers of traditional hearing aids would often complain of a “talking in an empty room” sensation, like you can experience when using your fingers to block your ear and listening to the sound of your own voice.
With the help of the digital hearing aid, users now have access to devices that do not obstruct the natural passage of sound through the ear canal.
The new age aid is an open fit hearing aid with thin tubes that enter the ear canal and smaller cases that rest behind the ear, making them almost invisible.
The end result of this feature is far more comfort and clarity.
Digital hearing aids analyze signals to determine if they contain unwanted noise. If detected, it reduces the amplification of background noise and amplifies the speech sounds.
The old hearing aid did a poor job by amplifying all sounds equally - whether the source of the sound was the person who the wearer was listening to, or background noises such as traffic.
This feature was innovated because hearing loss patients found it hard to follow a conversation in noisy environments. Directional microphones take into account that proper conversation is often with people we are facing, while background noise comes from the sides and behind us.
Directional microphone systems boost the sounds which come from front of you and reduce sounds from other directions. This makes it easier for you to understand speech when there is a lot of background noise and also reduces ambient noise.
This feature was unavailable up until 2014. It helps wearers connect to devices like smartphones, plasma televisions, iPods, and MP3 players.
The advantage of flexible connectivity is to improve sound quality, as the sound is streamed directly into the hearing aid without background noise that would be present if they were listening to music from the external environment.
Multiple and automatic program selection
Today, like many other smart technologies, hearing aid users can operate their hearing aids without the hassle of removing them, simply with a tap of their phone. This allows users to adapt their hearing aids for different environments. For example, a user can add noise reduction when listening to a music.
The advanced hearing aid, with the help of AI, can also study a user’s normal settings in different environments. It can then automatically control settings, when needed, without any action from the wearer.
Binaural hearing aid fittings
Having two working ears helps with sound location and much clearer stereo quality.
Hearing professionals recommend users have two fitted hearing aids in order to completely restore their hearing ability.
Rechargeable Hearing Aids
In the past few years, technology has significantly improved the quality and efficacy of hearing aids.
One such improvement has been the introduction of rechargeable hearing aids. These hearing aids have improved batteries that can last a long time before completely shutting down for a recharge. Batteries that have been widely used in power tools, known for their stability and long power-up times, have now entered the rechargeable hearing aid market.
They are made in various shapes and forms, so hearing aids do not necessarily have to abide by older styles.
The Simens Signia Styletto rechargeable hearing aids come with lithium-ion recharging capability. A rechargeable battery that is widely accepted for its quality in the hearing aid industry.
Types Of Hearing Aids Batteries & How Long They Last
There are two main batteries types that have been on the hearing aid market for a significant period of time. These are nickel based and the lithium-ion based. Until the introduction of lithium-ion based batteries, nickel based batteries dominated the market.
Nickel based batteries are limited due to their small capacity, lasting for only 11 to 14 hours after being fully charged. This is insufficient for wearers who travel or operate for a long time in their place of work as it may shutdown before users can return home to for a recharge. Alongside this, wearers are also required to replace nickel-based batteries every year.
Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries come in different sizes. They last as much as 30 hours when fully charged, to about 19 hours in some devices with higher power consumption.
This longer battery life is more than sufficient for an entire day of use. As the battery is stable and only loses a small amount of its capacity over five years, it does not have to be replaced as regularly.
Bluetooth Hearing Aids
Beyond their outstanding design, Bluetooth technology has many other functions beneficial to wearers. This includes the ability of Bluetooth hearing aids to draw less power than required by other Bluetooth integrated devices.
With the help of Bluetooth hearing aids, you can connect to your smart devices like phones and televisions. This enables users to listen to podcasts, radio streaming, music, audiobooks, Netflix, YouTube and so on. By being connected directly to the hearing aid, you can enjoy your devices without obstruction from external sources of noise.