What are some hearing aid options? |

Not All Hearing Aids are Created Equal

Thanks to recent technological advances, digital hearing aids offer greater comfort and audio quality than ever before. They are available in high-end, entry-level and everything in between based on their features and capabilities. For some patients, however, the increased options have made the process of choosing a digital hearing aid very confusing.

At CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat, our certified audiologists have the training and experience to help your patient choose the hearing aid and options that best suit his or her individual lifestyle, environment, dexterity and financial considerations.

Extra options are typically available on both the entry-level and high-en hearing aid products. Following are some key features that are available:

Directional microphones

This feature makes it easier for patients to hear in noisy environments. There are two microphones on the hearing aid, one facing forward and one facing the back of the head. The microphones work together to help the patient hear conversations and improve speech intelligibility in noisy environments. On entry-level products, directional microphones reduce noise from one specific direction. In contrast, advanced technology has introduced adaptive directional microphone that automatically detect the specific location of the noise source and negate it automatically.

Multiple Programs or Memory Slots

With entry-level devices, a button on the aid must be pushed to access the different programs. More advanced hearing aids offer automatic program selection, where the hearing aid evaluates the surrounding environment and adjusts accordingly without the patient having to press a button.

T-coil or Telephone Program

This function improves the patient’s ability to hear on the telephone. T-coils are standard on most current digital hearing instruments. Entry-level hearing aids requires the user press a button to access the t-coil feature, while high-end products offer a touchless t-coil that will automatically switch to the phone program when the telephone is placed over the hearing aid.

Feedback Managers

With newer technology, feedback does not occur as often as it did in older models because most aids are equipped with a digital manager that detects when the aid is producing feedback and automatically eliminates it. Entry-level hearing aids have a simplified feedback manager, while more sophisticated devices eliminate feedback while also preserving the needed amount of gain.

Noise Reduction

The most common complaint from patients who wear hearing aids is that it is difficult for them to hear in the presence of background noise. The noise reduction feature, coupled with directional microphones, helps to reduce the background noise so the patient can follow conversations. Entry-level hearing aids have limited noise reduction capabilities, with the option of having this feature either turned on or off. High-end digital hearing aids use noise tracking technology and more acute noise reduction systems. They also reduce steady state noises that the entry-level system my miss.

Wireless (FM) System Compatible

A wireless communication system (FM system) transfers the speaker’s voice directly into the patient’s hearing aid(s), making communication in very difficult situations much easier. The system consists of a transmitter, which picks up the voice from the speaker and sends it via radio waves (no wires) directly to the tiny radio (FM) receiver, which is connected to the patient’s hearing instrument. This feature is especially useful for school-age children in the classroom or for business personal who regularly attend large meetings.

Remote Access

With this option, a remote or wristwatch can be used to adjust the hearing aid volume or change programs.

Bluetooth Compatibility

Using this technology, an device that is Bluetooth compatible can be heard directly though the hearing aid, including laptop computers, cell phones, MP3 players or an iPod. Using Bluetooth with hearing aids allows the sound to come directly though the hearing aid, making the sound amplified to the patient’s hearing loss and presented clearly and at a comfortable level for the individual.

At CornerStone Ear, Nose & Throat, our certified audiologists can help patients choose a hearing aid that fits their specific lifestyle and budget.