Every hearing instrument has one or more microphones which pick up sound from the environment. This acoustic signal is transformed to an electrical signal. It's then amplified and adapted according to the individual's hearing loss. The receiver (or "loudspeaker") reconverts the electrical signal into an acoustic signal which is directed down the ear canal.
Thanks to increasingly small micro-processors, digital technology has been applied to hearing systems. Digital hearing instruments are programmed with a personal computer by an audiologist or hearing care professional.
Within the hearing instruments, acoustic signals are transformed at high speed and with great precision into a binary code. This allows much more complex calculations and adjustment of the amplified signal than is possible with analog technology. It gives us greater flexibility to provide individualized solutions to hearing loss, and allows the addition of features which give the instruments higher value across a greater number of listening solutions. (Information provided by Phonak.)
Hearing aid technology is constantly evolving and becoming increasingly advanced. Modern hearing aids are small high-tech computers that are constantly being refined and developed to provide better reproduction of natural human hearing. The progress allows for improved sound reproduction and increasing numbers of sophisticated features to be built into hearing aids. The ability to adapt the devices to individual demands with respect to his or her daily environment and type of hearing loss is constantly improving.
The most advanced digital hearing aids are constantly analyzing the sounds of the user's environment and changing between built-in programs, automatically selecting the appropriate programming mode for the specific situation. The sound reproduction is constantly adapted by the hearing aid to provide the best possible hearing.
Intrusive Background Noise Eliminated
Many hearing aids have two microphones, making it possible to focus on specific sound sources while reducing irritating background noise. At a reception, the voice of the person you're looking at can be accentuated, while the voices of others around you are softened.
Behind-the-ear hearing aids used to make it difficult for the user to determine the direction of the sounds. This is no longer the case. Complicated calculations in the hearing aids now make it possible for the brain to determine where the sound is coming from. This type of hearing aid has also become sleeker and less obtrusive than earlier models.
The technical advancements open up new possibilities, including:
- Irritating echoes and hollow sounds can be reduced.
- Dedicated telephone software is activated when you put a telephone to your ear.
- Automated adaptation to loop or FM systems makes the hearing aid receive signals from the appropriate transmitters.
- Remote control, allowing you to change selections made by the hearing aid.
- Adaptation of extremely small ear moulds in order to eliminate annoying feedback (occlusion).
- The wireless Bluetooth technology is slowly being incorporated into hearing aids. It allows for wireless connection of your mobile phone to your hearing aid.
To get the best possible hearing aid for your unique situation, it's essential that you seek the professional help and advice of a hearing aid dispenser. You can also contact hearing aid manufacturers for information on the many types of available hearing aids. (Information provided by Hear-It.)