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There are many features to consider when choosing the best hearing aids, including the amount and type of hearing loss you have, your occupation and social lifestyle, and your budget. Below is a list of some common features that are available on modern hearing aids and how they might benefit you.
Digital Processing: Sound enters the hearing aid through the microphone, is analyzed, amplified, and then delivered to your ear. In older model hearing aids, sound became distorted in this process. Advanced hearing aid technologies greatly reduce distortion, making speech sound more clear and natural.
Feedback Control: Feedback is the annoying whistle that you hear from older or poorly fit hearing aids. It results from the amplified sound coming out of the hearing aid and going back into the microphone. Feedback can be controlled with a properly fitted hearing aid, but can be further suppressed in modern hearing aids with a special program that removes the pitch range of that ‘squeal’ before it gets to your ear.
Noise suppression: Hearing in background noise is difficult, but some hearing aids can make it less bothersome. In order to make speech more comfortable and clear, modern hearing aids amplify noises that contain the most important speech sounds, allowing better distinction between speech and background noise.
Spatial awareness: Spatial awareness gives cues needed to organize what we hear. Our brains distinguish changes in loudness, depth, origin, and direction so that sounds make sense to us. Today’s advanced hearing aids work together, sharing information between the ears to provide a clearer picture for the brain to process.
Directional microphones: In background noise, understanding speech is easier when we can face whom we are listening to. Likewise, directional microphones amplify sounds originating from the front more than sounds from behind or to the sides.
Bluetooth (wireless) capabilities: You may wirelessly interface your hearing aids with your cell phone, MP3 player, TV or stereo. This feature allows you to remain hands-free and listening with both ears while talking on the phone, or enjoying your favorite music or television program.