Hearing Aid features
Hearing aids improve your ability to hear in specific situations. They do this by using a variety of features, which depend on the level of technology. Here are the main hearing aid features available:
Most hearing aids can store several pre-programmed settings for lots of environments. Some hearing aids do this automatically, others may need a physical press of a button. This is one of the more important features as it will help in a variety of hearing environments. The automated versions of this, make like even easier as you do not need to fiddle with the aids at all. However, it does depend on technology levels.
This is something that is pretty much a standard now. But, for an individual with two hearing aids, they can be programmed to function together. This means that any adjustments made to a hearing aid on one ear, e.g. the volume control, it will also make the adjustment on the other aid. In turn this makes for much simpler use of the hearing aids.
One of the most important features on a hearing aid is the noise reduction. Almost all modern digital hearing aids have some sort of noise reduction available. This tends to be due to the fact everyone one with a hearing loss will struggle in noise. For hearing aids with the best noise reduction, you will be looking towards the top end of the technology tree. Ultimately this means the better the noise reduction for a crowed place, the more expensive the hearing aid will be.
You would now be very hard pushed to find a hearing aids without directional microphones. However, the smallest hearing aids that fit deeply into the canal are an exception to this. The reason the smallest aids are different is due to them using the natural shape of the ear to give the direction. A directional microphone has two microphones, one that focuses forward and the other that focuses backwards. Directional microphones allow you to understand the direction of hearing, as you require. This can help from hearing all-round sound to being more focused on a single person or object Directional microphones normally help to improve your ability to hear when there is a lot of background noise.
Hearing aids are increasingly being made with some form of wireless capability and can interface with certain Bluetooth-compatible devices. This could be things such as phones, music players and televisions. Some aids you may need to use an intermediary device, to listen to the TV or other signals. It would then be sent it to the hearing aid. However, as technology is moving on there are many hearing aids available that will connect directly through Bluetooth. Some of these devices are specifically made for iPhone (MFI) while, others will connect to any device.
Understandably, hearing instruments in the last couple of years have been pushing to put rechargeable batteries in them. This makes maintenance easier for you by removing the need to regularly change the battery. Currently rechargeable batteries are limited to RIC and BTE products. However, there is scope that this should move into custom product too. Rechargeable batteries will generally last a full day including streaming and are designed to be charged on a daily basis. Some rechargeable batteries are better than others and we will go into more detail about this.
Telecoils are being used less frequently as technology shifts to favour Bluetooth and other wireless connections. Telecoils, However, make it easier to hear when there is a loop system available. The telecoil can be programmed to eliminate some of the background noise and only pick up the noise within the loop area. These loop systems can be found in some churches, public buildings or theatres and more allowing you to hear the speech better for the environment you are in.
Most hearing aids can come with a remote control. Depending if you go private or NHS you should get an option to have one if it will benefit you. It will be at a cost if done privately. The remote will allow you to adjust features without touching the hearing aid. Remotes are becoming a little less common as wireless is becoming more standardised. The wireless hearing aids will have an accompanying phone app that can be used as a remote control.