What Is The Latest Hearing Aid Technology on The Market? - Attune
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What Is The Latest Hearing Aid Technology on The Market?

hearing aid tech

Hearing aid options for people with hearing loss have come a long way over the years. They have evolved from chunky devices that make everything louder to very discreet devices that are tuned specifically to your hearing loss by an audiologist. 

Now, hearing aids are used to make sound more clear and more comfortable in a range of different environments. 

Hearing aid manufacturers are always researching ways to improve the comfort of sound for people with hearing loss, particularly in loud environments where even normal hearing people can struggle. The past few years have brought several improvements to hearing aid technology, making them more convenient and simpler to use for everyone with hearing loss. 

It’s always worth letting your audiologist know exactly what you wish to get out of hearing aids, so they can help you pick the best match for your lifestyle and hearing loss from a growing range of options. 

Hearing aid technology is improving all the time. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the options that your audiologist might bring up when they help you select the device that will suit you and your hearing loss best. 

Sound Quality & Technology Levels 

Most modern hearing aids will adjust to different settings automatically and seamlessly depending on the environment and types of sounds that surround you. Hearing aid manufacturers are always researching ways to improve the function of these features and the overall sound quality. With the new hearing aid technology, people with hearing loss tend to get used to modern hearing aids more comfortably, and with fewer visits to the audiologist, than with past technology. 

The amount of automatic adjustments that can be made by a hearing aid is determined by their technology level, and this is usually the main determinant for the cost of the hearing aid, which your audiologist will discuss in detail. The higher the hearing aid technology level, the more adjustments are made automatically by the device in different environments to give you the best possible chance to hear comfortably. 

One interesting feature that has been introduced by one of the major manufacturers is the ability for the hearing aids to process the wearer’s own voice separately from external sounds. This can be done once the audiologist has trained the hearing aids to recognise the voice. This adds another tool for the audiologist to help manage any issues that may arise from a change in resonance and sound quality of your own voice while having something in the ear. If this has been an issue for you in the past, it’s worth mentioning to your audiologist so they can take it into account when they discuss the best options for your hearing loss. 

Rechargeability

Rechargeability

Limited hearing aid rechargeable battery options have been around for a while now, but the introduction of lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids in the past few years has made a huge difference to their reliability and ease of use. 

Disposable battery options are still available, but most of the major hearing aid manufacturers now also offer hearing aids that have a lithium-ion battery built into the device. Rechargeable hearing aids have been fantastic for people with manual dexterity concerns and people who just don’t like fiddling with batteries. 

All you need to do is place the hearing aids in their charging case at night and they are ready to go for a full day of hearing in the morning. The charge usually lasts beyond 24 hours, even for people who work long hours with lots of phone streaming, so there is no need to worry about hearing a low battery warning in the middle of your day. 

The hearing aid casing is now more closed without the need for a battery door, which has significantly reduced the number of moisture damage repairs that need to be done. The lithium-ion battery can be replaced by the manufacturer when it starts to reach the end of its longevity after 4-5 years. 

Rechargeability is also more environmentally-friendly and reduces the risk of loose batteries being swallowed by pets or children. 

Direct Smartphone Connectivity

With new hearing aid technology, they can now be paired to your mobile phone via Bluetooth so media and phone calls can be streamed directly to your hearing aids. Some hearing aids use made-for-iPhone technology, while others are compatible with both Android and iPhone and phone calls can be answered hands-free. 

Basically, your hearing aids can become headphones for your mobile phone or other Bluetooth device, with the added benefit of the sound having been tuned to your hearing loss by your audiologist. Phone calls are therefore made a lot easier as you don’t have to worry about where to hold the phone over the hearing aid.

For those who like to experiment with sound options, apps are available to turn your mobile phone into a remote control for the hearing aids. It’s important to note that it’s not necessary to use these apps to get the most out of your hearing aid because the hearing aid technology is designed to work automatically. 

TV Streamers 

Bluetooth compatibility has also enabled a big improvement in TV streaming devices available for people with hearing loss. The new options from some manufacturers allow for one streaming device to be plugged into the TV and sound is automatically streamed into your hearing aids when the TV is on. The connection tends to be more stable and the sound quality is improved compared to past streaming accessory options. 

Cochlear Implant Connectivity 

Some of the cochlear implant and hearing aid manufacturers have worked together to meet the needs of people who have a cochlear implant on one side and a hearing aid on the other. 

Developments in connectivity and sound processing have led to improvements in how the devices work together and which accessories can be used with both. 

If this has been an issue for you in the past, it’s worth having a conversation with your audiologist about the latest options to make life with hearing loss easier. 

Telecare & Remote Appointments with Your Audiologist

Telecare and remote

Telehealth is a growing field and offers exciting possibilities for being able to offer more services to remote areas. Teleaudiology is still relatively new but options are gradually being rolled out to provide some audiologist services remotely when needed. For example, some manufacturer software now enables your audiologist to make remote fine-tuning adjustments after the initial set up and fitting. 

Ideally, your audiologist will still want to check that the hearing aids fit properly and that you are managing them well in person, but being able to offer remote fine-tuning can make a world of difference when you can’t get to the audiology clinic.

Future Possibilities

Mobile phones have transformed from a single function phone to something that most people always have nearby for all kinds of functions. Some hearing aid manufacturers are similarly looking at ways to transform hearing aids from a device that helps with hearing loss to something that does that and more. 

One example of what the future of hearing aids may look like is the inclusion of biometric sensors and health and wellness monitoring features in one of the major manufacturer’s latest hearing aids. These features include monitoring of physical activity and heart rate, amount of social interaction, and fall detectors that can notify up to three emergency contacts. It also offers virtual assistant integration and language translation. 

We have already seen widespread inclusion of Bluetooth features as previously discussed, but this is likely an area in which we will see further interesting innovations in years to come to enhance the hearing aid experience for people with hearing loss. 

To Sum It Up 

While health monitoring and other features may appeal to some people with hearing loss, others prefer for their audiologist to set up something that is easy to use. The great thing about new hearing aid technology is that they are designed with both types of users in mind. 

All of the sound quality features are automatic after being set up by your audiologist, and no fiddling is required to get the full benefit. For those that like to play around with features, apps are available to make that accessible. 

Whether you’re coming to terms with hearing loss for the first time or hoping for better options, it’s worth booking an appointment with your Attune audiologist to discuss your options.

Technology has made a world of difference for hearing loss, but it’s only part of the solution. Your audiologist will also empower you with communication training and other tactics or assistive devices to improve communication so you can take control and enjoy the world of sound. 

 

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