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With global advances in technology, there’s no surprise that hearing aids have evolved into high-tech devices capable of some amazing and really advanced sound and speech processing.

People still picture hearing aids as they were many years ago: large and obvious, making embarrassing whistling and beeping sounds, and ineffective at filtering out background noise.

But today’s models are quieter, discreet and more effective. With the present integration of medical and consumer technology the stigma of using hearing aids may just be a thing of the past.

There are so many hearing solutions in the Australian market. It is our job to understand the physical properties and advanced features of these solutions. We know how to program and control the technology, we know how to optimise the features for you and clinically, we are experts in matching the level of technology with your specific lifestyle needs.

Here we discuss and profile the key features and technology that allow hearing aids to be so effective in treating and managing your hearing loss today.

hearing aid technology

Directional microphones help you focus on the speech you want to hear in circumstances where the speaker of interest is in front of you. When the directional microphone is adaptive, it works automatically to change its sensitivity to reduce noise that might arise from several different locations.

This means the microphones are always working to help you hear speech over and above the unwanted background noise even when the source of the noise is moving. This technology is very helpful in understanding speech in challenging noise environments.

The hearing instrument senses the noise in your environment and applies a correction to its frequency response to reduce noise for greater listening comfort. Noise reduction processes vary in their strength and methodology across families of devices.

Sudden, sharp and high intensity sounds are rapidly detected by computer processes and reduced by transient noise reduction. Fast acting and responsive amplifiers immediately reduce these types of environmental noises so your enjoyment of the environment remains optimal.

Modern hearing aids have advanced electronic systems which monitor the instrument for ‘whistling’ or feedback. When hearing aids start to amplify their own signal, rather than the environmental sounds around them, they begin to whistle, which is very annoying. Digital feedback cancellation automatically reduces or eliminates this whistling.

Frequency compression may significantly improve speech intelligibility in cases where the hearing loss affects the discrimination of high frequency speech sounds. It can be used to help high-pitched sounds become easier to hear in some situations. This clever technology opens up a wider range of sounds to the listener.

This technology continuously analyses the environment for the most favourable speech-to-noise ratio and automatically selects the microphone configuration that has the potential to offer the best speech intelligibility, regardless of whether the speech is coming from the front, behind or the side. Speech focus maintains audibility and reduces discomfort from loud noise.

Synchronisation allows the hearing aids to communicate electronically with each other. The devices exchange information about the acoustic environment and the technology is able to align the directionality and noise management in both ears to create the best understanding for speech.

Coordination controls both instruments with one touch. It means that adjustments you make to one device will also be transferred to the other device. This improves performance and accuracy and makes things easier for the user.

This technology automatically detects when a telephone is being used and switches the settings of the hearing device to provide optimal hearing on the phone. Further, the phone signal is then transmitted to the opposite ear so that both ears can listen in stereo to the voice of the caller. This improves clarity and understanding when using the phone.

Presently, this feature utilises Bluetooth transmission to allow for easy and automatic connections between hearing aids and TV/home or office phone/mobile phone/smart phone/computers and remote microphones. Popular for hands-free use of mobile phones when driving and direct streaming of the TV audio without affecting the TV volume for other listeners in the room.

This advance allows certain hearing aids to be continuously immersed in water. The technology is robust and secure and allows you to shower, swim, ski, sail or sweat without the need to remove your hearing aids.

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