14 features that create an advanced hearing aid
We are frequently asked this question during appointments; what qualifies as an advanced hearing aid? Most people immediately think that having Bluetooth capabilities is all you need, however, there is much more to this from an engineering, programmability, and wearability perspective. Does your current hearing aid qualify for this designation? Let’s find out!
Advertisers do a great deal to confuse patients with words like “premium” or “top-rated.” There are many choices out there today and it’s important to select a hearing device that supports your lifestyle and needs. New technologies and features abound along with a range of color selections to beautifully match hair color or skin tones.
As there are several common style types made, let’s first look at these different options.
Behind the Ear (BTE)
- Good battery life, typically is the most durable and has the largest buttons for ease of use.
- An excellent choice for someone with eyesight or fine motor skill limitations
Receiver in Canal (RIC)
- Similar to BTE types, can be smaller than other models as the speaker is inside your ear. Offer less sound distortion than a BTE type device.
In the Ear
- Requires custom molds of your ears
- Can be matched to your skin tone, but are visible.
- High marks for durability
- Easy to put in and remove
In the Canal
- Custom molded to fit with a seal
- Smaller sized but also uses a smaller battery
- Durable and easy to put in your ear
Completely in the Canal
- Smallest type
- Good sound quality
Invisible in Canal
- Sits inside the second bend of the ear canal
- Unnoticeable to others
- Smaller battery, but comparable life between changes
It’s essential to find a brand that offers a reputable history and is sold through a licensed audiology clinic. Hearing devices are an investment in your health and wellness and can last for up to 4-5 years before needing replacement. Selecting the best quality and performance possible will ensure that you use them regularly instead of being left on the side table.
Warranty. Look for those brands that offer the best warranty for a long life of improved hearing.
Advanced hearing aids should offer most or all of the following features:
- Binaural processing and learning features (recent advancement for two hearing aids to communicate and work together, processing a sound from both sides at once)
- Directional microphones
- Programmable sound amplifiers – these are highly customized for each ear for the best language understanding
- Wax guards to keep wax from clogging up the microphones
- Automatic volume control for varied situations (car, church, movie)
- Bluetooth® and phone connectivity for easy calls and FaceTime
- Full background noise reduction capabilities
- Advanced speech recognition programming for the highest understanding
- Maximum number of sound channels
- Complete adaptive music listening program
- Tinnitus management program – ask about our Mindful Matters partner
- Maximum feedback suppression technology to reduce acoustic feedback noise (common with phones)
- Preprogrammed settings
- The option for a telecoil – to give you access to public induction loop system
As you can see from this extensive list, an advanced hearing aid offers several levels above a basic or standard hearing aid. If you have special demands for your work or retirement lifestyle, or have more than typical hearing loss due to disease, past work in loud environments, or military service, you may want to consider exploring an advanced option.
We’re here to discuss those options with you when you are ready.