Hearing Aid Technology

Now there are hearing aids that are just right for you.

More Functions

Advances in hearing aid technology mean that we now have many more functions in hearing aids than ever before.

Lifestyle & Needs

This allows for individual lifestyle and needs to be taken into account when selecting which hearing aid is right for you.

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Costs

The cost of the hearing aid generally depends on the technology and the features that the hearing includes (not the look of the hearing aid).

Basic Technology

Basic digital hearing aids generally require the wearer to make some manual adjustments in certain listening situations – such as turning a volume control up or down, or pushing a button on the aids in order to reduce noise coming from behind.

The processor may separate incoming signals into two or more channels and process each channel separately. For example, a basic two-channel instrument may give more amplification for high frequency versus low-frequency sounds if required based on the hearing test results. By contrast, premium technology hearing aids may have a lot more channels, and therefore offer a higher resolution of signal processing.

Basic hearing aids may be computer programmable but may have fewer or more limited adjustments available for fine-tuning and customization as compared to advanced technology. Today’s basic digital hearing aids offer the benefits of better hearing to many people with hearing loss.

Advanced Technology

Digital Signal Processing (DSP)

Fully digital hearing instruments use the newest and most advanced type of technology. These instruments actually convert analogue sounds to a digital form and use computer technology to process the sound signal which allows much more precise control of the signal. The hearing care professional uses a computer to program and adjust these instruments.

In addition to basic digital hearing aid technology, each major hearing aid manufacturer offers several levels of advanced technology. As the level of technology increases, hearing instruments become more automatic and are equipped with more sophisticated features for people who regularly encounter dynamic listening situations. Examples of some of these advanced features, what they do and how they can benefit are shown below.

Dynamic Feedback Cancellation (DFC)

Continually analyses incoming signals and adjusts seamlessly and instantaneously to minimize or eliminate feedback (whistling) that can sometimes occur. Designed to improve comfort from annoying whistling. Basic feedback systems may reduce the amplification in order to get rid of whistling. Advanced systems, on the other hand, reduce or eliminate the feedback electronically, with no or little effect on the overall hearing aid amplification.

man with hearing aids listening music no feedback.jpg
enviromental detection helps man at beach with hearing aid

MultiBand Adaptive Noise Management

Determines if the signal contains unwanted noise and reduces the level of noise if present. Adaptive Noise Management Systems selectively reduces the volume in frequency regions where there is background noise to increase the speech clarity and listening comfort. Advanced Multiband Adaptive Noise management is more precise and selective to preserve the incoming speech while reducing the background noise. This works together with the directionality system to reduce sudden, dominant noise without affecting speech if it is present.

Automatic MultiBand Adaptive Directionality

Directional Microphone gives preference to sounds coming from the front of the wearer and reduces sound coming from other directions. Proven to improve speech understanding in a noisy environment, when the wearer can position himself/herself to face the person speaking, with his/her back to the noise, such as parties, restaurants, etc. Basic directional systems provide fixed directionality and may require the wearer to push a button to activate. Advanced type of directional systems work automatically and reduce the interference from multiple noise sources simultaneously, even if they are moving. This can significantly reduce background noise to improve speech understanding.

Diagram showing 360 directional sound
environmental detection soundnav graphic by unitron

Environment Detection

Some digital hearing instruments today have the ability to scan the sound environment and detect the presence of different types of sounds such as speech, background noise and wind noise. This information may be used to change settings in the hearing instrument such as the Adaptive Noise Reduction and the Adaptive Directionality.

RITE

Receiver-in-the-ear technology avoids the tube resonance associated with traditional BTE solutions, and an open solution retains vital localisation cues intact for a more natural hearing.

VC Learning

Hearing aids learn based on changes made by the wearer, such as to the volume, and then automatically make these changes. More precise personalization of the instruments enables a more accurate, individual fitting.

Data Logging

Stores data in the hearing aids about the listening environments and adjustments made while worn. Data can be viewed by hearing care professional and used for more precise and objective fine-tuning to optimize the hearing aids settings for clients’ personal needs.

Automatic sound processing

Incoming sound is continually analysed and processed to best amplify speech while reducing unwanted noise. Soft sounds are given more amplification, while very loud sounds are given little or no amplification. Created as a hands-free operation with no need for external controls such as volume control wheels which makes hearing instruments simple to use and comfortable for the wearer.

Wind Noise Reduction

Reduces the whooshing noise of wind blowing across the hearing aid microphone(s). Designed to improve listening comfort for people who spend time outdoors – golfers, boaters, walkers, etc.

Multiple Listening programs

This makes it possible to have different (customised) programs for specific listening situations including hearing in noisy situations listening on the telephone, or to music.

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