In my experience, most people like milk with their tea. Some people enjoy sugar in their coffee. Sometimes I prefer herbal tea. Have you thought about how you would like your hearing aids?
Like computers, tablets and phones, hearing aid technology is improving quickly. Hearing aids have more and more functions and features which fit into tiny packages that sit in or behind your ear. Current hearing aids do more than compensate for hearing loss with amplification. They are small computers that measure your sound environment then modify the way they amplify to maximise your hearing clarity.
When getting hearing aids, we need to consider the technology level and functionality that will best compensate for your hearing loss. There are also other features and additional connectable technology you might find useful to make life easier.
Getting the right hearing aids for you
Excellent core hearing aid functionality is key to success. Choosing the correct level of amplification, fitting to your ear and technology level for your hearing needs must be guided carefully by your Audiologist. Follow this link for more details about how we go about assessing your listening needs.
Once we have decided on the right hearing aid technology for you, we can consider the added features that are available. These can help with ease of use, connectivity and better hearing in specific listening environments. These features are available at most technology levels. Once we have decided on the right hearing aids for you, we can determine if you would like any additional technology to go along with them.
How would you like your hearing aids?
Hearing aid style and cosmetics
Finding the most discrete hearing aids is a priority for many new hearing aid users. Cosmetics, of course, has to be balanced with comfort, reliability and sound quality.
Receiver in the canal (RIC)
The most commonly fitted style of hearing aids in recent times is the Receiver In the Canal (RIC), also known as the Receiver In The Ear (RITE) / (RIE). These hearing aids have a relatively small hearing aid that sits behind the ear, the receiver (loudspeaker) sits in the ear.
An advantage of these hearing aids is that receivers can be replaced in the clinic. If they need to be changed or replaced, they do not need to be sent to the manufacturer. If there is a change in hearing levels, the receiver can be changed to a more powerful loudspeaker in the clinic. Or if the receiver breaks down, it can be replaced in the clinic with less hassle (at a significantly lower repair cost). These can be fitted with universal fit domes or custom moulds. There are many behind the ear styles available with various tubing options.
In the canal hearing aids (IICs, CICs and ITEs)
Some people prefer not the have anything sitting behind their ear. There are various size options available to match your priorities, including Invisible in the Canal (IIC) hearing aids, Completely in the Canal (CICs) and In the Ear (ITE) hearing aids. Most brands have these hearing aid styles available. They have historically come with trade-offs in comfort and reliability. Having an electronic device deep inside your ear means more problems with moisture and wax; these issues improved dramatically over the past few years. There are many in the ear styles available.
Control your hearing aids with an app
In an ideal world, hearing aids measure the sound environment, highlight the sound you want to hear and bring it to you with increased clarity. In most cases, hearing aids do this well. However, at times, you may wish to adjust the hearing aid sound for the environment you are in. You may want to appreciate the nuances of music, hear the person who is speaking from behind you, like in a car; or understand better in a particularly reverberant (echoy) room.
In these cases, you may want to change the way the hearing aids are working; adjust the volume, or focus on sound for a particular direction. These are the situations whereis where a remote control app may come in handy. Apps usually give you the option to change your hearing aid volume, program setting and in some cases, pitch and adjust how the hearing aids respond in noise.
Rechargeable batteries in hearing aids have been available for several years. Within the last year, we have seen a surge of new rechargeable hearing aids from more manufacturers with improved battery life. The three main reasons to choose rechargeable hearing aids:
- Simplicity – pick up your hearing aids and put them on in the morning and at night put them back in the charger. No need to open battery doors to turn them off or having batteries run out unexpectedly.
- The environment – many people are aware of the waste they create when they dispose of used hearing aid batteries every week or two.
- Less cost and hassle– although the battery charger costs a little more at the beginning, there is an overall cost saving when choosing rechargeable hearing aids. There is also the added convenience of not having to think about buying batteries.
Connect directly to your phone
Another built-in advantage of the direct to iPhone technology is that you can use your phone as a remote microphone. Just put your iPhone at the other end of the table, or give it to the person with the quiet voice. The sound that reaches the iPhone microphone will be sent directly to your hearing aids.
Phonak has a direct to any phone hearing aid called Marvel. This hearing allows direct connection to any phone, including android (and most older models).
Use your phone hands-free
These are the first hearing aids to allow hands-free talking. The phone can be sitting up to 5 metres away. You will hear it ring in your hearing aids and can answer it by pressing the button on the hearing aid. When you speak, your voice is picked up by the hearing aids and sent back to phone. No need to pick up your phone at all.
Connect directly to media – Tv, computer, sound systems
Connecting your hearing aids directly to your TV, sound system or tablet means you will hear the sound a lot clearer the first time. This makes following the dialogue in movies and TV is so much easier. In most cases, we need to add an intermediate device that sends the signal from your preferred audio device to your hearing aids.
Remote microphone technology
One of the biggest challenges for people with significant hearing loss is hearing across distance. Speech understanding can be difficult over more than a few meters, even the best hearing aid technology. Follow this link and scroll down for a video demonstration of how remote microphone technology might help you.
There are many reasons that getting into the clinic to see your audiologist can be a challenge. Maybe you live a long way from the clinic, are not able to get to appointments during work hours or are homebound, for medical or transport reasons. If this describes you, then we have a solution – Telecare audiology is now a reality.
Tele-audiology means that some of the hearing aid fitting process can be done from the comfort of your home or office. Once we have done a thorough hearing assessment and have fitted the hearing aids in the clinic, we can do further follow-ups from a distance. All you need is a smartphone, and your hearing aids can be adjusted over the internet. Being able to customize your hearing aids from the comfort of your home makes the process of getting hearing aids more manageable than before.
So – how would you like your hearing aids?
Significant research and development in hearing aid technology mean new hearing aids are being released almost continually. As you can see, there are many options to be considered when choosing hearing aids. It is essential to consider how you would like your hearing aids to work for you. Our needs assessment will help steer you in the right direction to get the hearing aids that suit your lifestyle and listening needs best. Finding out about your preferences is an integral part of choosing the best hearing aids for you.
At Auckland Hearing, we keep up to date with new developments from all the manufacturer’s product lines. This is so we can choose the most up to date hearing aids that are best suited to your needs.