Ins and Outs of Hearing Aids

What’s the secret to getting the right hearing aid?

Before you go in and get tested, make a list of where you plan to wear your hearing aid and how you want it to change your life. Bring your list in for your appointment, and we will help you choose the right hearing aid for your particular type and level of hearing loss. Note hearing aids are designed to amplify sound in a way that’s perfectly calibrated for your level of hearing loss.

Modern hearing aids are smaller and more powerful than you might expect. These innovative devices pack a significant amount of technology into a very small package, enabling individuals with hearing loss to compensate for their symptoms without drawing a lot of attention.

In principle, that might sound pretty simple–like turning up the volume on your television. But the reality is that modern hearing aids have incredibly complex hardware and software that is designed to help you hear better.

What is a hearing aid?

A hearing aid is a special device worn in the ear that is specifically designed to help alleviate the symptoms of hearing loss.

Most modern hearing aids are comprised of at least three separate components:

Microphone

Like any microphone, this part of the hearing aid detects the sounds, which will later be amplified. Some hearing aids will be equipped with directional microphones to help wearers more easily listen to conversations in noisy spaces.

Processor

The vast majority of “work” performed by a hearing aid actually happens inside a tiny computer. The software in the processor will take the raw sound picked up by the microphone and amplify specific frequencies for your ears. Most hearing aids have adjustable settings, so you can flip to different settings when the noise level shifts.

Receiver

The speaker, or “receiver,” is where the enhanced sound is ultimately emitted. Most hearing aid speakers are designed to both help you hear while also limiting possible damage from loud noises.

Many modern hearing aids will also be filled with additional technologies, such as health-monitoring software or Bluetooth connectivity. The precise components of any hearing aid will vary from device to device and may depend on the style of hearing aid you select. However, the technology behind the devices is the same.

Additional hearing aid features

In addition to helping individuals hear better, modern hearing aids are brimming with sophisticated features designed to be helpful throughout daily life. Those features may include the following:

Bluetooth or wireless connectivity

Improve your ability to hear the phone or television by connecting your hearing aids directly to your devices with Bluetooth. Bluetooth eliminates any painful feedback or distracting echos, which makes phone calls much easier and television more fun to watch.

Noise cancellation

Never let the sound of your car engine ruin one of your conversations again. Modern hearing aids are equipped with sophisticated software that can help your hearing aids focus on and amplify voices while canceling out background noise.

Dual microphones

Hearing aids have two microphones on each device. This helps the hearing aid discern between background noise so you can hear more clearly in a crowded room.

Synchronization

When you’ve got two hearing aids, it’s important that they synchronize sound, volume, noise compression, and programming features. Otherwise, you may struggle to interpret sound into speech.

Health monitoring

The same way your health tracker counts your steps, some hearing aids incorporate technologies designed to help you improve your health. Health data can be transferred to and monitored from your smartphone. Likewise, some hearing aids now also come with fall detection, so in the event of a fall, emergency services can be contacted automatically.

Rechargeable batteries

Replacing batteries can be a laborious process, especially if handling small objects is a challenge. It’s easier for most people to simply charge their devices every night. Thankfully, many hearing aid brands offer rechargeable batteries.

What no one tells you about your new hearing aids

Before you get to hearing breathtaking clarity and fully enjoying your new hearing aid, it’s going to take some getting used to. While we wish you could just insert it and instantly transform your hearing and your life, it’s not quite that simple. Almost but not quite. Your brain is going to need some re-training and to adjust. No worries, our brains, including yours, are truly remarkable and can adapt.

Depending on the extent of your hearing loss, it may take you some time to get used to your hearing aids. The brain can atrophy when it’s not used and become adjusted to your hearing loss. As your ears begin processing sounds again, your brain needs a little bit of time to catch up! But don’t worry, we can recommend special exercises designed to help you acclimate to your hearing aids faster.

Keep wearing your hearing aids as you adjust. The more you wear your hearing aids, the faster your ears and brain will get used to hearing again–and the sooner you and your hearing aids will be on the same page.

Can hearing aids help with tinnitus?

Hearing buzzing, roaring, clicking, hissing, humming or just plain old constant ringing in your ears? For some people, it can be loud enough it wakes them up at night and prevents them from getting a good night’s rest. How annoying is that!

If this sounds familiar, there are three things you should know:

You may not need to suffer
Hearing aids may be the solution
If it’s not a problem hearing aids will solve, your specialist can guide you to other options.
Tinnitus is strongly associated with hearing loss, and studies indicate wearing hearing aids can provide people with relief from tinnitus. In one study, nearly 60% of people with tinnitus experienced some tinnitus relief when wearing hearing aids, while nearly 25% found significant relief. If you have tinnitus, ask us how hearing aids can help.

How long do hearing aids last?

Depending on wear and tear, hearing aids can last 3-5 years or more, but you’ll want to have your hearing evaluated annually to make sure they are programmed effectively. Hearing aid technology has also improved considerably just in the last few years, offering features that dramatically improve your quality of life. So while hearing aids are built to last, it’s not a bad idea to periodically see what upgrades are available. Ask us how to care for your hearing aids.

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