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Advancements in Hearing Aids

March 08, 2019

They say we are in the age of technology. And, it’s true. It seems no market is left untouched by technological advancements, and hearing aids are reaping many of its rewards. Since the invention of the hearing aid, people's lives have been forever changed. As we progress, new features begin to materialize taking performance and wearability to the next level. As audiologists, we strive to stay on top of the latest innovations to help our patients make the most out of their hearing aids.

Own Voice Processing (OVP)

The OVP is a feature coined by Signia. As the name suggests, the technology is supposed to help wearers interpret their voice differently from other sounds entering their hearing aid. It's achieved through the use of a separate processor. Why is it important? New hearing aid users usually find the tone of their voice startling. Over time they adjust. But, this technology changes all that, and new or current wearers won't have to make that adjustment. Additionally, you can get this technology with closed domed (meaning the ear canal is sealed off) rather than only working with open.

ReSound Assist

The process for getting a hearing takes place with your local audiologist. You have a hearing test completed, and then you order hearing aids based on your needs. When they come in, you sit down with your doctor who will help fine tune the listening experience. It's great having a professional to help, but there is only so much you can plan for in the quiet office. Stepping back into your lifestyle could present some areas you might want to change. Before, that meant you needed to go back to the doctor. With ReSound Assist from GN Resound, you don't need too. Through the use of an app on your smart device, you can connect for assistance with your care team who can guide you.

Inertial Sensors

A new feature useful for those who are worried about their senior family members wearing hearing aids is the inertial sensors. While the hearing aid can be relatively small, it can pack a lot of punch, and these sensors are powerful. Some manufacturers are producing a range that contains sensors to track activity and detect falls. Impressed? Well, it goes one step further. If a person does fall, the sensors can report it. Anyone who is currently researching options for their senior family members who live alone might want to consider this technology.

Rechargeable Hearing Aids

Admittedly, rechargeable hearing aids have been around for a while. The difference today is the introduction of the Lithium-Ion rechargeable hearing aid. Previous versions of the rechargeable battery didn't last long. Sure, they didn't require you to carry around extra batteries, but they wouldn't last a full 24-hours. The Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries are different. They can last a full days worth of wear and incorporate some time for streaming. It should be noted that these batteries sit inside the hearing aid. They have a four to five-year shelf life which means after that time you will need to send them back in to have the manufacturer replace the rechargeable batteries.

Biometric Calibration

Biometric calibration is designed to improve the hearing experience. It does so by analyzing the shape of the wearer's ear. The hearing aid is fixed with a reader that identifies over 1600 data points inside the ear. The information received is translated into specific calibrations, and the wearer can get a better sense of where sounds are coming from. The outer ear heightens some sounds. When you wear a hearing aid that can become distorted. It is more or less a process to help drown out background noises for a crisper, clearer sound.

Bluetooth Connectivity

Let's start with Made For iPhone hearing aids. Some manufacturers produce a range of hearing aids that connect through the use of Bluetooth. The benefits include a recalibration on the iPhone that makes the sound more succinct. Listening to music and talking on the phone become more enjoyable. The only downside is the requirement of an iPhone. However, many brands are producing a version that connects with any smart device so long as it has Bluetooth connectivity. Androids, smart TVs, and tablets with the connectivity option are compatible with Bluetooth hearing aids. Wearers can stream phone calls hands-free and listen to audio from any of the devices mentioned.

Purchasing Your Hearing Aids

The purchase of your hearing aids starts with a trip to your audiologist. Once it's confirmed hearing aids are needed, it's time to start shopping. As you can tell from the list, many technologies exist to improve performance and experience. But, it's not always easy to choose which one is right for you.

At OAT, we have years of experience working with families just like yours to help them find the right solution. That’s why we created our ebook, "Hearing Aids Options & Cost." It’s got tons of information about how to select and buy the best hearing aids.

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Topics: Hearing Loss, Custom Earplugs, Hearing Aids, Ear Care