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  • Writer's pictureAdvanced Audiology Assoc.

Sound Advice: A Hearing Technology Primer

As hearing aid technology continues to improve, the possibilities for you or a loved one with hearing loss are greater than ever. Which is fantastic news, right? Of course. But even the greatest advancements can be met with trepidation – at least at first.

Such is the inspiration for our new blog series, Sound Advice. You can expect short, easy-to-digest posts about hearing technology - with tips on how to understand it and use it for your benefit.

To start off, here’s a quick primer on how hearing devices work, and what advanced hearing aid technology can do for you.

Photo credit: Oticon

What makes today's hearing aids different?

Hearing aids have always been made of four basic parts: a microphone, a processor, a receiver and a power source. Today, the basic parts remain the same – but have become incredibly sophisticated.

Most of the technology happens in the processor, which is more programmable than ever before. This means we can fine tune and customize your hearing device based on your specific needs.

Basic vs. advanced technology

Even though some basic, digital hearing aids can be programmed, most of the past-generation models will require you to make manual adjustments in different listening situations. And, these adjustments are limited and have fewer options.

As hearing aid technology becomes more advanced, the controls and settings become more automated and have more features to help you communicate in difficult listening situations. Some of these features include:

Bluetooth compatibility

Simply put, Bluetooth compatibility is a wireless feature that makes connecting to mobile phones – and other devices that use Bluetooth – possible. Bluetooth can help improve the signal to noise ratio, eliminate feedback and provide a listening experience with less interference.

Binaural processing

Binaural means "relating to or used with both ears." So with binaural processing, a pair of hearing aids can communicate wirelessly with each other. This technology actually mimics the brain's ability to process information coming from both ears and helps reduce manual adjustments.

Data logging & learning features

Data logging is a way of storing data that can help tailor your hearing device to your needs and preferences, such as includes information about your specific listening environments, or the way you like your volume controls set. Over time, hearing aids with this advanced technology can "learn" from you - and begin to make changes automatically as needed.

Wind noise reduction

If you enjoy outdoor activities, this is a game changing feature. Wind noise reduction technology simultaneously detects the impact of the wind blowing across a hearing aid microphone – and reduces its amplification.

Information provided in part from
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Feb 09

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