For many people, the word hearing aid does not bring to mind something they might connect to the rapid development of technology we have been experiencing over the last decade. What comes to mind instead is a chunky piece of grey or beige colour that sits behind your ear, a thick tube running in front of the opening of your ear, ending in another chunky piece covering the opening of your ear. Sometimes these devices would whistle quite loudly causing annoyance not only for the wearer but for those around it too.
As computer chips have become more powerful in processing making your laptop, tablet or smartphone faster they have also become smaller. For hearing aids, this advancement has been a great step forward. Not only can devices of newer generations do several hundred million computations per seconds and therefore be smart about which sounds to amplify, but they have also become smaller at the same time. While it is a cosmetic aspect, and it might not be important for everybody, for many people this is paramount. Wearing glasses has become widely accepted, they are even a fashion statement sometimes. Not everyone feels (unfortunately) so confident about wearing devices to assist with your hearing. And this is where size does matter.
Another great advantage for both cosmetically conscious people and those who are not is Bluetooth connectivity that new hearing aid technology offers, allowing you to connect your hearing devices to your smartphone. This enables the wearer to receive and make phone calls through the hearing aids. For some brands, one does not even have to touch their telephone to receive a call, a mere click or tap on the device and you are ready to chat. This technology is especially great if you are using your smartphone to listen to music or other audio as all of this can be directly streamed into your hearing aids without the use of extra headphones. And nobody else will know. To keep you safe you can make sure that surrounding sounds are still audible.
While the Bluetooth connectivity has been around for a couple of years now, most manufacturers have built on this idea and created apps to give you even more control and freedom. Every app is different but with most of them, you can adjust the volume and change to another program or setting. Some brands give you access to the directionality of the devices’ microphones so you can choose to listen to a sound source directly in front of you and zoom out or decrease sounds coming from other directions. While this more advanced access via an app is not always desired, it certainly makes it easier due to a visual interface in other words you can see what you are changing. It is also more discreet to adjust something over the screen on your smartphone rather than pressing buttons on the hearing aid.
If you are interested to find out if any of these features would make your life easier or more comfortable come and see us at the EAR STUDIO in Castle Hill.