Reviewed by Dr. Porter on April 8, 2021
Modern hearing aids aren’t like your grandpa’s auditory aids. They are some of the most powerful minicomputers around. Newer models of medical-grade auditory aids almost universally feature rechargeability (no more itty-bitty batteries!), smartphone controls, and Bluetooth connectivity. And the advances in auditory aid technology don’t stop there. Let’s take a look at some features you can find on the latest auditory aids.
Enhanced speech clarity
The hearing aids your grandparents and great-grandparents used made the spoken word louder, but not necessarily clearer. Users of today’s professionally prescribed auditory aids enjoy greater speech clarify than ever before. Today’s auditory aids incorporate spatial configuration, echo adjustments, and directionality for a more natural experience of speech even in noisy environments.
And if these advances are not enough, there are even auditory aids that can send a transcript of your conversation to your smartphone.
Have you ever gone to a movie with surround sound? Or do you remember when you could hear sounds and you would automatically know where they were coming from?
The latest generation of hearing aids feature directional sound and the ability to hear 360° sound with the ability to detect movement. This feature is incredibly valuable in simple daily tasks like crossing the street or driving a car. The ability to hear a speeding car coming in your direction or the ability to hear the siren of a fire truck or ambulance can make the difference between life and death — for you or for someone else. Next-generation sensors process sound, so your brain processes directionality and you have the sense of being immersed in sound, not just informed of sounds.
Background noise reduction
One of the early signs of some kinds of auditory loss is the inability to follow a conversation in a crowd. You can hear the person with whom you are talking, but you can’t understand them because you hear everybody else at the same volume. What’s going on in this situation is your brain is trying to compensate for your inability to hear some volumes and pitches by “turning up the volume” on everything all at once. To compensate for hearing less, your brain tries to hear more.
Modern prescription auditory aids come with advanced software for background noise reduction. They have detection algorithms that separate nearby sounds from more distant sounds to help you focus on the people in nearby proximity. These algorithms help you tune in to the conversation you want to hear and tune out of distractions.
The ability to hear your own voice
One of the complications of long-term auditory loss is the inability to hear your own voice. Over time, you may start speaking too softly, or, more often, too forcefully. You may start to speak in a monotone or lose your sense of rhythm in your speech.
The latest hearing aids process your voice independently of other voices and sounds. You will instantly know how you sound to other people and you will be able to recover your natural intonation.
Even if you just have one “bad ear” you need auditory correction for both ears. That’s because your brain is hard-wired to receive signals from both of your ears at the same time. Modern auditory aids send the same kind of inputs that your brain would receive if you had normal hearing in both ears.
The Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone connectivity, and rechargeability we mentioned earlier
Bluetooth connectivity lets you stream phone calls, television, music, podcasts, and movies directly into your auditory aids. They work a lot like high-end headphones.
Smartphone apps give you the ability to adjust your hearing aids to your surroundings. You can use one setting for having a conversation in a crowded restaurant and then change it for the ride home.
You can get a portable recharging unit for your hearing aids. There’s no more fumbling to open your auditory aid to replace the batteries. And recharging units are more environmentally friendly.
Innovations in hearing aid technology don’t stop there. There are adaptations of hearing aid technology to support every lifestyle activity, from auditory aids that stand up to sweaty outdoor exercise to auditory aids that can play soothing sounds when you are stressed out.
Harbor Audiology can help you find exactly the hearing aid you need. Our offices are open most evenings and Saturdays. Harbor Audiology has offices in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Sequim, Silverdale, Port Angeles, and Bainbridge Island. Request your appointment online today!
Categorised in: Audiologist