Modern hearing aids are so much more advanced now. In addition to common features, they now come with Bluetooth connectivity, recharge ability, Machine Learning, and more.
Hearing aid technology has come a long way in the past decade. New advancements happen so fast that it can be difficult to keep up. Most hearing aid users will purchase a new hearing aid every four to six years, which is a long time for new advancements to be made. If you choose to upgrade to new models right now you will find a lot of new features and technology to consider.
Many of the advancements in hearing aids match those we have seen in other technological devices such as computers and phones. Hearing aids now are smart — they are automated, they learn, and they can connect and integrate with other devices.
Here’s a quick guide to the latest hearing aid technology and features you will find in new hearing aids. First there are three general technological advancements made that almost all hearing aids now have. Then there are distinct features that you will only find in certain hearing aid models and brands.
Bluetooth is a wireless digital technology that allows different devices that are close to each other to connect. This connection lets you exchange data and information, which can be used to do specific things remotely between the devices.
For example, one common type of Bluetooth device is remote speakers. You can connect your smartphone or music device to the speaker via Bluetooth. This lets you play music that is stored on your phone through the speaker.
Bluetooth hearing aids work in a similar fashion. It lets you connect your hearing aids to devices like smartphones, music players, computers, and televisions. You can then stream sound directly from those devices to your hearing aids.
The benefit of Bluetooth hearing aids is that the sound you stream from other devices is much clearer. When you play sound from a television or phone without streaming, the sound is still coming from farther away.
Here is a quick list of all the different ways you can use Bluetooth-compatible hearing aids:
Remote microphone streaming
With rechargeable hearing aids, you don’t have to open the hearing aids at all to remove old batteries and put in new ones. Here’s how typical hearing aids work that are rechargeable:
That’s it! Using rechargeable hearing aids is that easy. You can set them into the charging station overnight and have a full charge in the morning to last the day.
For people with dexterity issues, this can be a big help. Non-rechargeable hearing aid batteries can be quite small and a hassle to physically remove and replace. Having rechargeable hearing aids also means you don’t have to worry about buying new batteries.
There are always certain situations that can make getting new batteries difficult:
When you have rechargeable hearing aids, you’re set. You just need your charging station and never have to buy new batteries.
Hearing aid manufacturers now offer smartphone apps to control your hearing aid settings. You can download the app on iPhone or Android phones, and they work just like a remote control accessory.
While there are some differences between the different apps, the general functionality is the same. These apps allow you to perform functions such as the following:
Adjust the volume settings
Adjust the noise reduction settings
Adjust the directional microphone settings
Adjust the listening programs and settings
Adjust the active connections your hearing aids have to accessories
Have a remote appointment with your hearing care professional
Download new programs and updates from your hearing care professional
Check the battery life on your hearing aids
Locate your hearing aid using GPS so you can find them if you lose them
These hearing aid apps are very useful for people who are younger and new to hearing aids, and enjoy advanced technology. If you use your smartphone regularly, it is convenient to be able to adjust all the settings for your hearing aids with an app. That way you don’t worry about manually adjusting them, and you don’t need to carry a separate remote control accessory.
There are also phone apps to work with specific hearing aid models and accessories, or to help with specific issues like tinnitus.
Widex currently offers six different smartphone apps:
MOMENT app — for control of WIDEX MOMENT hearing aids
EVOKE app — for control of WIDEX EVOKE F2 model hearing aids and the TV PLAY accessory
BEYOND app — for control of WIDEX BEYOND hearing aids
TONELINK app — for control of all WIDEX EVOKE and MOMENT hearing aids
COM-DEX app — for control of the WIDEX COM-DEX accessory
Zen app — for tinnitus therapy to prevent flare ups
The Signia App is Signia’s all-in-one app solution for people who own Signia hearing aids. Here are some of the some of the features of the app:
Hearing care chat
In 2018, the WIDEX EVOKE became the world’s first “smart” hearing aid by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. AI and machine learning technology have been around for decades already. However, this technology is only now usable by hearing aids because it took this long to be able to put that technology into such a small device.
Here’s a short list of the important bits of information that are relevant to artificial intelligence:
Different noise environments — detecting when you are moving from a quiet room, to outside on a windy day, to inside a crowded restaurant, etc.
Changes to the hearing aid settings — when you adjust the programs, volume, and other settings of the hearing aids
How you use your hearing aids — when you turn them on or off, when you adjust the settings, etc.
Hearing aids with AI are able to automatically adjust the settings for you throughout the day.
Another very useful advancement for hearing aids is the ability to filter out background noise. This is very useful for situations where there’s a lot of external noise around you, but you’re trying to focus on what someone in front of you is saying.
The rise of digital hearing aids has made this much easier compared to older analog hearing aids. Digital hearing aids are able to process all sounds to then reduce the sounds you don’t want to hear. Hearing aids can be programmed with pre-set programs and audio settings according to common environments.
This means you can filter out background noise in a restaurant, or wind when you’re outside. It doesn’t just do this through volume adjustments, it also affects sound frequencies to make it easier to hear speech.
One of the main complaints people have when they first start using hearing aids is that they don’t like the sound of their own voice. This is similar to when you hear a voice recording of yourself, and it sounds different from when you hear your own natural voice.
This is because of how voices, including your own, are processed by the hearing aid. You can pick up the subtle differences caused by the digital processing, to the point that it doesn’t quite sound like your voice.
New hearing aids that you can buy today have the ability to process sound faster than ever before. This is helpful for hearing aid users because it sounds more natural. Earlier hearing aids would take time to process sound, which resulted in a delay between when the sound happens and when you actually hear it, which causes the sound to seem distorted and unnatural.
This distortion was common to all hearing aids and is one of the reasons why some people refused to wear them. Now, with the ability to process sound with virtually no delay, the sound you hear through your hearing aids is much clearer and more natural.
The technology and features available in new hearing aids now are completely different from what they were a decade ago. All hearing aids are now completely digital instead of analog. Most hearing aids now come with rechargeable batteries, with the option to buy units with replaceable batteries.
Now you can also stream audio from Bluetooth enabled devices directly to your hearing aids, which can help you hear your TV, phone, and music much more clearly, and without having to turn the volume way up.
You also have the ability to control your hearing aids with your smartphone. This can be much more convenient than using another accessory or doing it manually. You can also buy hearing aids that use machine learning to update the settings automatically for you.
Lastly, hearing aids now are much better at making the sounds you want to hear clearer and more natural. They reduce background noise, enhance the sound of your own voice, and process sound faster than ever before.
If you want to know more, you can contact us at any time to schedule a free product discussion.