6 Hearing Aid Features to Consider
If your hearing test results indicate you would benefit from hearing aids, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Granted, there is a lot to learn about the devices and how they improve your hearing, but most people learn quickly. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the basics, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with any hearing aid features you may have.
1. Noise and feedback reduction
There are several ways digital hearing aids adapt to noise. Noise reduction allows the units to increase and decrease the volume in noisy situations, which lets you to hear conversation better. Feedback reduction makes certain that any amplified sound is not picked up by the microphone(s). Without this feature, you may hear that familiar squealing sound when you insert and remove your hearing aids. The degree of feedback reduction in your units depends upon your hearing loss and the fit.
2. Directional microphones
Your audiologist may recommend this feature to you if you find it difficult to hear in noisy situations. Each hearing aid has two microphones, one to pick up sounds in front of you, the other to pick up sounds behind you. The processor automatically reduces the sensitivity of the rear microphone in noisy situations and automatically reverses the process when things aren’t so loud.
3. Gain control
Remember the audio equalizers on your old stereo? Gain control works in a similar fashion on digital hearing aids. Sound is separated into individual frequencies, each of which has its own volume control. Some styles of hearing aids may have as many as 15 or 20 frequency channels that can be adjusted by your audiologist, allowing you to hear higher or lower-pitched sounds better. Gain control is different from the manual volume controls on hearing aids.
4. Self-teaching units
Some hearing aids can be trained to remember your volume preferences. You may use a push button or a remote control to increase or decrease volume. The hearing aids note the times you make adjustments and when there is a pattern, the units automatically makes the volume changes.
5. Wireless connectivity
It seems like “wireless” is everywhere! This is the same technology you use at home to connect your tablet to the internet or download music to your mp3 player. Your hearing aids can connect to your cell phone, television or music player directly, without wires. Essentially, your devices act as a personal headset.
6. Telecoil switch
This is an older feature but is very helpful not only for telephone calls, but also is used by some theatres, auditoriums and churches to allow you to hear speech better. The hearing aids are equipped with a setting that you change to “T” for telecoil. Many hearing aids do this automatically but some may require a manual change. The telecoil directs the sound to the unit’s processor, bypassing the microphone.
These are just some of the hearing aid features available that allow your units to adapt to your needs. Your audiologist will help you determine which ones may be right for you.