10 Things to Know About Hearing Aids
Hearing aids of the past tended to be made with analog electronics, which often resulted in a muddy and uncomfortable listening experience. These old devices were highly visible and merely amplified sound without much complexity.
Today’s hearing aids are digital and could be considered as miniature computers for your ears. Like your smartphone, hearing aids now work wirelessly with a variety of devices and are entirely customizable to suit any lifestyle or degree of hearing loss. If you are interested in purchasing a pair of hearing aids or upgrading to a newer model, we’ve created this list of facts you should know about hearing aids on the market today.
1. They have very low-visibility
If discretion is your goal, the small size of today’s hearing aids makes them nearly invisible, and they can be molded to fit snugly in your ear canal. After a short time you won’t even realize you’re wearing them!
2. They are smarter than you think
Most hearing aids today are digital, which means they process and filter sound to determine what you want to hear, and what you don’t. Analog aids, such as PSAPs, simply turn up the volume of the environment, which can lead to feedback, whistles, and other undesirable sounds, and potentially damaging decibel levels.
3. They are severely underutilized
Hearing loss is a spectrum that affects people of all ages, yet fewer than one in three people who could benefit from a hearing aid have ever tried one.
4. They do most of the work for you
All hearing aids can be adjusted for a number of diverse listening situations, such as a restaurant or airplane. The preferred settings for individual locations are saved for future use automatically, eliminating the need to constantly recalibrate your hearing aids.
5. With hearing aids, every seat is the best seat in the house
Hearing aids with built-in telephone coils (T-coils) allow wearers to connect to hearing loops. Thousands of theaters, concert halls, places of worship, and more now offer services for the hard of hearing. For a list of locations in the U.S. that offer Assistive Listening Devices, please visit http://www.aldlocator.com.
6. They are durable
Some hearing aids are water-resistant, meaning that they can withstand slight exposure to moisture without being damaged. If you are someone who spends a lot of time outdoors or in extreme conditions, consider purchasing maintenance kits for your hearing aids to keep them clean of debris and safe from any impact damage.
7. They can treat tinnitus
If you suffer from a constant ringing in your ears, sound generators and other tools to fight tinnitus are now available on many hearing aids. By determining the pitch and quality of your tinnitus, a hearing care professional can provide a backing sound that masks or otherwise reduces the severity of the internal noise. The newest technology analyzes the frequencies of incoming sound, allowing the digitized output to remove tones that approach the levels of the tinnitus sound. This approach, known as notch therapy, is only available in certain hearing aids but has been shown to drastically improve symptoms of tonal tinnitus.
8. They are smartphone-compatible
Most hearing aids now are Made for iPhone® or Android®, allowing you to pair with multiple devices to stream telephone calls, music, and video right to your hearing aids. All app stores also have a program that allows users to adjust the audio levels and directionality of their device.
9. They are rechargeable
The rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in many devices can last up to 24 hours, even while streaming audio, are environmentally friendly, and eliminate the cost and fuss of replacing tiny batteries.
10. They can be discounted
Insurance coverage for hearing aids is nowhere near as widely offered as it should be. However, alternative forms of coverage and financing are more available than most people realize, including extremely reduced cost and free hearing aids refurbished by charitable organizations.
While this list should help you consider what is best for the future of your hearing, it would be impossible to list all the incredible things hearing aids can do for you. Before choosing a hearing aid, speak with your hearing care professional to ensure that you will be getting all the features and comfort that you want.