Because hearing aids are essentially amplifiers of sound, there's a dog-eared myth that hearing aids boost volume of all sounds that reach the hearing aid and you hear all sounds equally loud – background noise, a conversation three tables over at a quiet bistro, the din and clatter of a busy office – all get a volume boost according to this long-entrenched myth. And myth it is.
Today's quality hearing aids fitted by hearing professionals offer a rich array of features that deliver a better, healthier quality of sound. Here's what hearing aid features you should look for when you start shopping for your new ears.
Quality hearing aids are tuned by your hearing specialist - an audiologist or licensed hearing aid dispenser - to deliver the best results for your type and degree of hearing loss. These hearing aid "channels" are adjusted up and down, broad or narrow spectrum, based on the results of your hearing evaluation.
So, walking out the door of the hearing professional's office, your hearing aids are programmed (tuned) to address your hearing loss. You will only receive amplification in the pitches your hearing is bad. This cuts down on hearing background noise as loudly as you hear your supper companion at the town's pizza joint.
|Today's hearing aid features include peaceful dinners using advanced noise reduction technologies|
Hearing aids are tiny computers for the ears. They detect sound and determine what type of sound it is which falls in typically 2 categories: Speech (what you want to hear), and noise. They can detect sounds like wind, the background sounds in the school cafeteria or every day noise that masks the sounds you want to hear like traffic noise while walking down a sidewalk.
Through noise cancellation technology and other hi-tech digital features, background noise stays in the background so you hear your spouse over fettuccine at the new hot spot. It is overall reduced to improved listening comfort and the ability to focus on what you want to hear.
If you've heard it, you know how this ear-splitting screech sends people running from the room.
Older hearing aids, and assisted listening devices, often don't offer this feature but good hearing aids do. Automatic feedback squelch enables you to talk on the phone, put on eyeglasses or a hat, with confidence there will be no whistling.
Smart Mics (aka Directional Microphones)
The microphones that pick up sounds for delivery to your ears can focus on the speaker in front of you or take a more expansive "ear" to hear all the activities at a family picnic.
In advanced hearing aids, directional microphones activate automatically. As soon as noise is detected from behind you, the directional microphone kicks in to reduce that sound while still boosting what is in front of you – typically what you want to hear. For less expensive hearing aid models, there is a push button that can be pushed in the presence of background noise which will activate the directional microphone manually.
The latest and greatest from the hearing aid community, digital connectivity delivers high-quality sound without the background noise, cell phone static and echoes bouncing off the plaster walls.
Today, hearing aids can take audio signals from a host of sources, from cell phones and PDAs to television and direct the sound wirelessly to your hearing aids delivering the sound directly to you, without background noise. This is thanks to the introduction of Bluetooth technology to hearing aids.
Other forms of wireless transmission of sound to eliminate background noise, includes the use of induction loop and telecoil technology. This technology is commonly used in churches and other public facilities.
Reduced echoes. Reduced noise. Clear and concise.
There's so much new technology to improve the listening experience. Today's hearing aids aren't simply sound amplifiers. They're sound detectors, selectors and protectors of your ears, creating a natural hearing experience – no matter where you are listening.
Talk to your hearing professional about the latest sound reducing, cancelling, softening features in any hearing aid you consider.
You want natural hearing? Hear less of what you DON'T want to hear and more of what you DO want to hear. Today, that's simple.