Most hearing aids break up incoming sounds into a number of frequency based channels. Each channel can then be assessed and adjusted individually to closely match the amplification to the hearing loss of the wearer. Thus it follows, that the more channels a hearing aid has, the closer the match to the hearing loss. Basic hearing aids feature between 2 and 6 channels whereas top-end hearing aids can have more than 30. Channels are also used to measure and activate noise reduction.
All of the hearing aids that we supply, except for CICs and IICs, feature directional microphones – essentially a pair of attached microphones that use the tiny differences in time and volume between them to determine the direction of sounds. This allows the hearing aid to focus towards speech signals and away from background noise. The more sophisticated the hearing aid, the more sounds it can follow at any given time and the more it is able to clean out the signal for the greatest speech clarity. CICs and IICs do not feature directional microphones as they are too small to house an effective pair. They also use the natural localisation effects of the outer ear more effectively, thus arguably negating the necessity for directional microphones.
Noise reduction algorithms are designed to detect extraneous background noise and reduce it to a level that enables the wearer to hear speech signals most clearly and comfortably. Every digital hearing aid that we supply features noise reduction to varying degrees. Discuss your needs with your Audiologist and they will recommend the most suitable device for you.
Some hearing aids are equipped with modules that allow wireless communication between the instruments in each ear. This can be as simple as allowing binaural volume adjustments to be made using only one hearing aid’s controls, or as sophisticated as enabling the left hearing aid to switch off its microphone and stream sound directly from the right hearing aid when holding the telephone to the right ear or vice versa, effectively giving you the ability to hear your telephone conversation in both ears at once.
Based on the wireless technology above, this allows hearing aids to stream directly from a Bluetooth enabled device. This is most commonly for telephone calls from your mobile phone (streamed wirelessly to both hearing aids and adjusted to your hearing loss), but also includes music, television, movies from your Bluetooth enabled computer and remote microphones (these allow you to place the remote microphone at a distance of say 10 meters from you and it will stream the sounds from the microphone directly to your hearing aids whilst cutting out all of the background noise between you and the microphone. This has great advantages in a classroom, lecture theatre or boardroom and can replace the need for traditional personal FM systems).
There are many other proprietary features that vary from brand to brand and are too numerous to list here. Please view our blog for regular reviews of these features and their specific benefits.
For a more in-depth discussion, call 0430 080 274 to book an appointment with our Audiologist.