All About Hearing Aids
Whatever your individual hearing loss, we have a large range of the latest digital hearing aids from leading manufacturers, providing you the widest choice!
Instruments have a varying number of channels each covering a different range of frequencies. The channels affect how finely the hearing aids can be tuned to individual levels of hearing loss. The more channels the aid has, the more finely tuned it can be and the better speech can be preserved in a noisy environment. Most of the top range instruments will have between 15 and 20 channels, the medium range between 8 and 12 channels and the economy range between 4 and 6 channels.
Manufacturers use a variety of terminology to describe the different features of their hearing aids, but in general terms they include:
Automatic/manual programme options
Many hearing aids operate automatically and will recognise and adjust to several different environments to optimise hearing speech and make hearing more comfortable, whether you are in a quiet or noisy situation. For many people, the automatic or ‘universal’ programme is all they need. However, if required, other programmes can be added to provide a different sound or setting for specific situations, such as theatre, TV, etc.
There is a range of automatic and manual options to help with telephone use, including the conventional Telecoil. With wireless instruments it is possible to have a system where the sound is transferred directly into the hearing aid or aids, improving intelligibility.
Most instruments will have several different strategies for reducing unwanted background noise to make it easier to focus on the important sounds you want to hear, i.e. speech, and generally to make hearing more comfortable in noise.
There are some very sophisticated noise reduction systems used today but the exact method will vary according to the different manufacturers. Even most economy instruments will incorporate some level of automatic noise reduction.
Directional (twin) microphones help if you are in a noisy situation by focusing on the speaker who is usually in front of you, and reducing noise coming from behind you. Adaptive directional microphones are even more flexible so the hearing aids will evaluate the environment and adapt automatically to focus on the area from which speech is coming.
Some aids may also have some form of zoom control to ‘zoom in’ even more accurately on a specific direction, be it in front, to either side or even behind you (useful in the car). Impact of sudden loud sounds, like chinking glasses, clatter of dishes, dog barking, etc., can also be reduced on some models.
Other Options include:
Wind noise reduction, Echo reduction, Manual Volume Control, Telecoil, Rechargeable batteries.
There are now some very effective management systems that significantly reduce the likelihood of the aids producing the annoying whistling noise which used to be associated with some of the older or non-digital instruments.
If you wear two hearing aids, wireless technology enables the aids to ‘talk’ to each other, so that if one changes the other one follows suit. They synchronise so that volume and programme settings are always balanced. They also operate in tandem so if, for example, you manually alter the volume or programme on one hearing aid, the other will change to match simultaneously.