A few years ago, the efficiency of hearing aids was not widely believed. Besides being large and uncomfortable, the results offered were not as expected. This has caused many people to stop using the device and even seek medical help to solve the problem. On average it takes a person 6 years to get help after noticing the hearing loss.
According to WHO, about 70% of the population over 60 years old have hearing problems. Hearing problems are a relatively common health condition that affects 1 out of every 7 people in Australia. This number is estimated to rise to 1 in every 4 by 2050. In 2017, about 14% of the Australian population suffer from hearing loss. While the majority of the hearing loss is a result of genetics or ageing among the elderly, one-third of the population with hearing loss acquire their hearing problems through preventable means, such as being exposed to dangerously loud noises.
In addition, as life expectancy has greatly risen, the lifestyle of older people has changed. Unless other limiting health problems occur, people over 60 work, travel, participate in social activities, use smartphones, social networks, and have a greater need to be connected to the world. Therefore, communication is fundamental for this audience and the affected hearing completely disrupts their life routine. Hearing loss can lead to greater impairment such as social isolation, depression and aggravating cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s. The best way is to focus on finding a solution in decreasing the chance of hearing loss rather than finding a solution when the problem arises.
Hearing aid technology has been evolving year by year bringing devices that are getting closer and closer to natural hearing. Current devices available in the market seek to “mimic” natural listening skills, helping even in the most challenging situations, such as watching TV with family members, talking on the phone or in noisy environments such as restaurants and meetings, among other things.
Modern hearing aid products are small and are powerful wonders of technology. Thanks to digital technology and its different programming; significantly improve hearing capacity and, consequently, quality of life, its ability to wirelessly connect to other devices such as mobile phones or television is revolutionary.
To better understand, the devices are currently tuned via computer, with specific software including dozens of possible fine adjustments. They are based on audiometry exams and discomfort threshold research entered into the software. It is possible to determine different programs for different environments, trigger noise reducers that analyse the environment, separating speech from other sounds, favouring understanding. They allow volume changes automatically according to the user’s environment.
Hearing aid devices change the question of speech comprehension as well. Normal listeners in a restaurant, for example, can hear the speech of friends while listening to the sounds of the environment (other people talking, cutlery, music, street noise, etc…). This places us in an environment in which we are inserted, and are used to, thus other sounds do not disturb us. The devices today do the same for people with hearing loss. The microphones (one of the components of the device) move automatically, picking up speech. If more than one person is speaking, they open their pickup rays, maintaining directionality and focus on speech, preventing noise from being picked up as well. They work independently and each ear plays a role, allowing the person to hear the sounds around them and talk normally.
To talk on the phone, there are features such as wireless accessories, plus direct connectivity to apple devices. The sound of the phone goes straight to the handsets without having to touch them to the ear. Allowing you to listen to high-quality music without headphones. This technology also applies to television. A specific accessory is connected to the TV and transmits sound directly to the hearing aids. Thus, the volume of the TV is good for the person with hearing loss and those who are with him, favouring socialisation.
The treatment area for tinnitus also has news. The Tinnitus Breaker is a sound generator that helps the patient divert focus from tinnitus through similar sounds. There is also an app that complements this treatment by providing relief to the patient through soothing sounds. Some models also have an application that allows you to optimise adjustments via cell phone with complete discretion. In the app, you can tweak the volume, improve the perception of ambient noise, equalise sound as needed, eliminate wind noise, change programs, access your connectivity enhancements, and even locate your device in case of loss via geolocator.
All this and more in very small, light and discreet models, which even behind the ear, are almost imperceptible.
Different types of hearing aid products
Pure Charge & Go
One of the adversities that patients face most when they notice hearing loss is the difficulty of maintaining their social relationships. This is because not all people can lip-read, for example. As a result, the person who suffers from hearing impairment begins to become isolated, ashamed to try to talk in public – and this even reflects on their professional life.
Being aware of all these difficulties, hearing aid technology developed so much that it innovated the way people saw this tool. Today we have hearing aids that enable the user to hear normally, such as Pure Charge & Go. Through it, you can communicate with more than one person at a time, regardless of whether the environment is closed or not, conduct business meetings for extended periods, listen to your favourite songs, podcasts and more! Pure Charge & Go also features wireless charging, in this case, hearing aids are automatically charged when they are placed in the charger and plugged in as soon as you remove them.
In short, we can say that Pure Charge & Go is the most complete product line on the market – a technology that solves complex sound situations such as loud environments, sound competition and multiple speakers at the same time. The handset has a long battery life, no batteries required. It is also possible to connect to various devices (mobile and television).
There is another major objection from patients regarding aesthetics, that is, many become resistant to wearing the hearing aid because they consider it too large and, therefore, feel self-conscious to use it. In this regard, there were also many improvements and, as a result, some devices are not even noticeable, as is the case of Silk. Considered one of the smallest hearing aids in the world, Silk is virtually invisible. In fact, it is very comfortable and soft and easily adapts without having to wait for a mould to be made. Although a small device, Silk reduces hearing efforts and provides a surprising user experience. This type of hearing aid has full listening capabilities and thus provides excellent sound quality.
New technologies are constantly emerging and there is much expectation around hearing novelties being developed by researchers and health centers around the world. One such novelty is the hearing lens. Currently undergoing testing, hearing lenses may soon be a common form of treatment for those with hearing problems. The lenses are placed on the eardrum, which receives a laser signal from the device mounted on the outside of the ear. The lens converts the laser signal into physical vibration in the tympanic membrane itself and allows the identification of a much wider frequency range than many conventional hearing aids.
Within five to ten years, the hearing aid industry expects to bring fully implanted models to the market, meaning the user does not have to worry about removing them and adjusting the settings. But how will it get loaded? You may wonder. Well, these innovative devices will use inductive charging, meaning they will remove enough energy from the human body to keep the hearing aids working – really cool, right?
Some top brands of Hearing Aid Products
|Phonak: Phonak is a good brand of hearing aids present in the audiology sector. In its catalogue of hearing aids, they are present from retro auricular headphones to the most personalised for adults or children along with other wireless accessories that improve listening. It was founded in 1947 and is currently owned by Sonova, a sister company of Unitron. Phonak was one of the first companies to launch rechargeable hearing aids and also has a cochlear implant division. They have the Autosense operating system, which automatically adjusts your hearing aids so that they adapt to your hearing environment on the go. They are one of the leaders in hearing aids for children.|
Signia has one of the most complete hearing aid catalogues. This renowned brand brings together leading devices to improve hearing and hearing aid accessories along with various applications. Signia was previously Siemens, which is now one of the brands of Sivantos. Therefore, its characteristics date back to what this company was. In 1959, Siemens developed the first retroauricular hearing aid (BTE), the Siemens Auriculette. The main milestones of this brand are: launching the first digital hearing aid with two microphones (directional microphones), the first wireless hearing aid, and more recently, the first waterproof digital hearing aid.
|Unitron: This brand of hearing aids, like the others on this list, helps people who suffer from hearing loss have smart hearing solutions. This extensive experience makes Unitron one of the brands experienced in the most flexible hearing care. Unitron is characterised by focusing its efforts on innovation and is constantly exceeding the limits of what is possible with hearing aids.|
Importance of Choosing the Right Hearing Aid Product
Only those with hearing impairment know how routine activities become difficult to perform. Therefore, choosing the hearing aid that best fits the patient’s needs is crucial for them to have a better quality of life and also regain their confidence and self-esteem. In order not to make a mistake in the acquisition, you must receive the guidance of a trusted audiologist, who will analyse each case individually and indicate the best option.
Making use of the hearing aid may be difficult at first, but as it is necessary, it is important to analyse the quality of each hearing aid in order to provide a better user experience.
Attune Hearing is Australia’s only accredited hearing healthcare provider allowing you the choice of ALL hearing aid brands. We fit hearing aids for the patient’s budget, hearing needs and lifestyle. Looking to get fitted with hearing aids? Call us on 1300 736 702 to book an appointment with one of our highly qualified Audiologists for all your hearing solutions today.