According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, “About 2 percent of adults aged 45 to 54 have disabling hearing loss. The rate increases to 8.5 percent for adults aged 55 to 64. Nearly 25 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 50 percent of those who are 75 and older have disabling hearing loss.” Of those adults experiencing a disabling hearing loss, many will invest in a hearing aid so they can stay actively engaged at work, in the community, and at home. If you are a loved one are considering purchasing a hearing aid, there are a few things to consider before making the leap. With new technology emerging daily, hearing aids have become more advanced. Digital hearing aids are now at the forefront of hearing aid technology, and here’s why.
There are two major categories of hearing aids, digital and analog. A digital hearing aid receives sound and digitizes it prior to amplification resulting in the user receiving a louder, clear, and exact copy of the sound. An analog hearing aid simply makes the sound wave larger to amplify sounds. Think of it this way, would you rather direct a crowd of 500 people with a regular or electric megaphone? Most would choose the electric megaphone because it provides louder and more crisp sound. A similar thing happens with a digital hearing aid, it provides clearer, high fidelity sound.
Digital hearing aids use specialized computer software to adjust sound quality to fit the user’s unique hearing needs. With this technology, hearing aid users are able to change their digital hearing aid settings to match their hearing needs as their needs change.
This is very important – digital hearing aids can come equipped with telecoil or wireless connectivity utilizing Bluetooth technology. This is an important topic of discussion to have with a hearing aid provider before selecting the make and model of a hearing aid because both telecoil and wireless connectivity utilizing Bluetooth technology open doors for hearing aid users so that they can hear more, hear better, and hear what they want to hear!
Telecoil is a small coil inside hearing aids. The coil works as a small receiver which picks up signals from a loop system that acts as an electromagnetic field. Hearing aids with a activated telecoil can convert this electromagnetic field into a sound signal. With a telecoil, users can receive sound directly into their hearing aid from telephones, televisions, and other sound systems.
Watch this video for a more detailed explanation.
Bluetooth wirelessly allows for the transfer of data between two or more electronic devices. Bluetooth uses radio waves set to a high frequency to transmit data without interference or security risks. A wide variety of products incorporating Bluetooth connectivity have been developed, including mobile phones, music players, computers, tablets and televisions. Currently there are no hearing aids that are Bluetooth enabled entirely on their own. Hearing aid developers have created Bluetooth enabled streamers that create a bridge between the Bluetooth enabled device, such as a cell phone, and the user’s hearing aids.
Watch this excellent video demonstrating all the different kinds of devices you can sync to your hearing aids using a streamer.
For questions feel free to contact IPAT or your preferred Audiologist!