A bit about Hearing Aids
Hearing aids have many advanced technology components working together to achieve “simply” hearing. Eight (main) hearing aid brands have been approved by the Ministry of Health in New Zealand. Each brand has its own philosophy of how they improve sound quality and audibility. New technology is being released, constantly improving sound clarity and quality, style, comfort and ease of use. Each hearing aid manufacturer updates their computer chips within the hearing aids every 2-3 years and brings our new models improved processing speed and functionality. Your Audiologist at Auckland Hearing is regularly upskilling and learning about the latest technology. Here are some of the most important aspects of getting hearing aids that will meet your listening needs.
Programmed for you
All hearing aids (supplied by a qualified professional) are programmed and then fine-tuned specifically for you. Your hearing test (Audiogram) is used to calculate the right amount of sound specifically for your hearing levels. We use real ear measures to make sure the sound is adjusted specifically for your individual ear acoustics.
Adjust to your listening environment
Hearing aids do not amplify all sounds equally; they amplify quiet sounds more than loud sounds; this allows as many sounds as possible to be both audible and comfortable. Some brands use artificial intelligence to decide if a sound is important or not. They will prioritise important sounds and reduces the level of the less important sounds. Hearing aids are not just about turning up the volume.
Noise reduction is a feature in most hearing aids; the way it works varies between brands. Most hearing aids focus more on speech sounds and reduce the loudness of non-speech sounds. Noise reduction also helps you to have a more comfortable listening experience. Higher-level technology has the best noise management features.
Hearing aids will help you locate the source of a sound and maximise the sounds you would like to hear. Newer technology hearing aids have improved at detecting and focusing on important sounds (speech), even if they are not coming directly to the listener’s front.
Feedback cancellation makes sure that the hearing aids do not feedback (make a loud high-frequency sound). This can happen if the sound from the “loud-speaker” reaches the microphone.
Current technology hearing aids are light and comfortable in your ears. Getting the aids comfortable enough to be worn all day, every day, is one of the important aspects of a successful hearing aid fitting process.
Cosmetics and Hearing aid style
Hearing aids no longer look like medical devices (the ol’ beige banana). Now they are a piece of technology like a computer or smartphone. Hearing aids come in various styles, from very tiny, sitting deep in the ear canal to sitting behind the ear. In most cases, the hearing aids which sit behind the ear and have a tiny wire that runs to the loudspeaker (receiver) that sits in the ear carry the best technology. This style has the best technology for maximising sound quality, wireless streaming and rechargeability and is the most commonly fit hearing aids now.
Below are examples of the receiver in the canal type technology for some of the brands. There are many other styles of hearing aid as well. The choice of hearing aid style will depend on preference and degree of hearing loss.
Hearing aids can connect directly to your mobile phone. See the section about Bluetooth below.