Hearing Aid Features Explained
Hearing aid technology fits into two different categories: analog and digital. All hearing aid technology is constantly improving. Since there are different types of hearing aids, it helps to learn about the different features available to make an educated decision on which one is the best one for you.
Digital Hearing Aids
Digital hearing aids convert sound waves into codes before amplifying them. This type of system allows your hearing professional to adjust and amplify some frequencies more than others, providing options for adjusting your hearing aid to fit your specific needs. These types of hearing aids can be programmed for directional hearing in addition to adjusting for different listening environments.
Analog Hearing Aids
Analog hearing aids convert sound waves into electrical signals which are then amplified by your hearing aid. While analog hearing aids still exist today, they have mostly been replaced by digital hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Features
Here is a list of common hearing aid features. If you have specific questions or needs about your hearing aid or listening needs, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our hearing professionals.
- Channels: There is a different channel for each section that can be used for processing different parts of incoming sound signals. The more channels in a hearing aid, the more flexibility there is to program and customize the device for your specific hearing needs.
- Frequency Shifting: This feature helps especially if you have severe to profound high pitch hearing loss. It shifts the frequency of high pitched sounds to a lower frequency that allows you to hear those sounds better.
- Microphones: Modern microphones pinpoint where the sound is coming from and helps eliminate distracting background noises from being amplified and interfering with what you are trying to hear. Both omnidirectional and directional microphones are available.
- Feedback Management: This type of system reduces annoying whistling noises.
- Open Fit Acoustics: Open fit hearing aids feature very thin tubes that not only make them almost invisible, they allow for the natural passage of sound into the ear canal, so users experience a better sound quality.
- Noise Reduction and Suppression: Noise reduction helps hearing aids work in exceptionally loud situations or environments so you understand an individual conversation in a complex sound environment.
- Impulse and Transient Noise Reduction: Similar to noise reduction, this feature reduces the impact of loud, sudden sounds such as an object falling and crashing. It can make the sound more comfortable.
- Programs/Programming: These allow wearers to override settings to adapt to a specific sound environment.
- Binaural Synchronization/Linkage: This allows two hearing aids to communicate with each other, synchronizing sounds and improving your overall listening experience.
- Wind Noise Reduction: If you enjoy outdoor activities or live in a windy environment, this feature can make a big difference because it reduces the amplification of wind noise in your hearing aids.
- Fully Automatic/Environmentally Adaptive: This feature gives your hearing aids the function of automatically adjusting its settings for your optimal hearing.
- Telecoil: This is a wireless feature that allows your hearing aid to pick up electromagnetic signals from compatible telephones or looped rooms.
- FM Compatibility: FM compatibility is a wireless feature for hearing aids that allow them to connect to FM systems that improve the signal-to-noise ratio without causing a feedback loop.
- Connectivity to Mobile Devices and Entertainment Systems: This is obviously a new and advanced function for newer hearing aids. This feature gives you the ability to use your smartphone, television, and other entertainment systems and hear everything.
- Data Logging: This allows certain hearing aids to collect data as you wear them. It includes how long you wear the devices, which programs are used, volume increases or decreases, environments and environmental sounds. All of this information can help to identity your hearing challenges and find solutions.
- Learning Features: Some hearing aids have a “self learning” feature that adapts to your preferences and volume control setting in different environments. Over time, it reduces the need for you to manually adjust your hearing aids.
- Sound Generators or Tinnitus Maskers: Some hearing aids have the ability of creating sounds that can help reduce the perceived loudness of tinnitus.
- Telephone Adaption: This hearing aid feature helps those who have difficulty understanding phone conversations. It is available for both landlines and mobile devices.
- Remote Controls: This feature available for some hearing aids makes it easier to change the volume or programs of your hearing aid without having to touch it.
Make the right choice for you!
You have lots of options. After receiving an assessment from one of our hearing professionals, we can help you decide which features are right for you. Perhaps you work in a complex sound environment and want “all the bells and whistles” – or you don’t. We specialize in finding the right device to meet your individualized needs. If you would like to learn more about the hearing aids or hearing loss or to schedule an appointment at Audiology Clinic, contact us today.