Hearing aid technology isn’t what it used to be; it’s better. The days of clunky speakers hung over the back of the ears have given way to sleeker, more functional designs. In just a short time, they have become high-tech, less expensive, and better looking.
Better Understanding of How Hearing Works
The science of hearing is a fairly new concept. Until 2009, it was unclear what happened deep inside the ear to change sound waves into something the brain can interpret as a word or other recognizable noise. New studies have explained that understanding the mechanics of hair cells and how they stop working has improved the tools used to enhance sound — like the hearing aid.
The current hearing aid design uses digital technology to filter out background noise. Many modern hearing aids have a microcomputer, as well, that is more sensitive. The chip cleans up the sound and clarifies it before it gets to the inner ear for translation.
Hearing aid professionals are able to stylize products to match the hearing loss of the wearer, similar to the way a stereo equalizer works. With careful programming, we can make sure the aid knows what pitches you hear best and which ones need more amplification.
One of the biggest changes to hearing aids is the directional microphone. This tool is able to enhance speech understanding despite a hearing aid user being in a noisy environment. It does this by focusing on speech cues to the front or side of you and turning off a back microphone to cut out background noise as much as possible.
Smart hearing aids connect wirelessly to tablet computers, laptops and smartphones. This allows the wearer to avoid headphones or earbuds when they want to listen to music or talk on the phone. The hearing aid serves the same purpose, making it more functional and convenient. The user can even take advantage of streaming apps to increase the hearing aid features or automatically turn on closed captions.
Hearing aids are smaller and customized to fit the ear canal of the user, but those aren’t the only cosmetic improvements. Colours can be chosen, for example, to match the skin tone of the user, making them more discreet. Even behind-the-ear aids come in a range of colours to match hair tone or stand out with a fashion statement if you want!
Technology is revolutionizing the hearing aid industry. Audiologists can take an impression of the ear and create a model that fits perfectly using. Using this mould, the hearing aid manufacturer prints out a custom shell made of resin with additive manufacturing. That shell is then loaded with the hardware necessary to make the hearing aid work. It takes just over an hour to print the shell, cutting back on the waiting time for a new hearing aid. The manufacturer keeps the custom template to reuse when the time comes to replace the aid.
Today’s hearing aid is not the same one your grandpa wore. They are getting better and more high tech with each passing year.
Whether you already wear hearing aids or are just beginning to notice some of the early signs of hearing loss, it is a good idea to schedule a comprehensive hearing assessment. At Hearing Sense, we will take care of your hearing possible, and treat your hearing loss with the most effective aid for your unique situation. Give us a call on 8331 8047 to book a FREE appointment.