Information on Hearing Aid Technology

The wonders of modern Hearing Aid technology

Hearing aid technology has changed dramatically with the miniaturisation of computer processors. Tiny digital processors are now used as the brains of digital hearing aids - responsible for sorting, processing and even prioritising sounds from the environment to your ear. Microtechnology has given manufacturers the ability to make hearing aids smaller, more powerful, and more effective than ever. Digital hearing technology has made analogue technology more or less obsolete, and most manufacturers are phasing out analogue technology.

Specialised Features of Digital Hearing Aids

Modern digital hearing aids are sophisticated, state-of-the-art instruments with many different benefits and features. Processors used in digital hearing technology use complex mathematical equations to recognize types of sound inputs, process sounds (by increasing or decreasing the volume), and deliver modified sounds adjusted to match the hearing loss of the wearer. This is called digital signal processing. Digital hearing aids are so precise, they can be individually programmed to amplify certain pitch ranges according to your audiogram - or to recognise differences in consonants in speech, such as “sh” in “rash” instead of “t” as in “sat.”

Digital hearing aids have the ability to automatically detect and adjust according to the environment you are in, such as a library or a noisy restaurant, and automatically adjust to the appropriate setting for that environment. Overall, digital hearing aids deliver higher performance than ever before

Benefits of binaural hearing – hearing with both ears

Providing full listening ability

As we know when we are listening to music, hearing in “stereo” rather than “mono” massively improves the quality of sound. Stereo is more generally natural and clearer, with a fuller, cleaner and richer sound. The brain naturally hears sound in this way, but it needs the signal from both ears to do so. Using only one hearing aid when two are required does not provide the full signal input the brain requires.

Giving your brain the input it needs

Just as you have two ears, you have two halves of your brain, they both work together to create what is known as auditory intelligence. Each ear sends a slightly different signal to your brain, and the signals travel a complicated neural pathway. Some signals stay on the same side of the brain; others cross over to the opposite side where they are received differently and have different effects on perception and understanding. This complex system—involving both ears and both sides of the brain—helps increase auditory function giving you a better understanding of everything around you.

Detecting sound direction

Sound signals from both ears gives your brain the ability to locate the sound source. This is particularly important when in company, being able to identify which person in a group is speaking so you can bring your attention to them quickly. It is also important for reasons of personal safety; for example, binaural hearing helps you identify the direction from which traffic is approaching.

Binaural listening

Being able to hear speech on both sides in a group setting is crucial to participating fully in a conversation. If you’re only wearing a hearing aid in one ear, you can’t hear the person on the other side of you as well.

Less volume

When two hearing aids are worn, you can keep the volume lower and still hear perfectly well. With just one hearing aid, you often need to turn up the volume to an uncomfortably high level in order to compensate. This often causes some sounds to be over amplified and also can cause the hearing aid to feedback, causing whistling.

Separating the voice from the noise

Two hearing aids, especially ones with directional microphones, enables you to focus on speech when in a noisy environment, helping you hear the person who is speaking with greater ease. This helps to reduce auditory fatigue and stress. With only one hearing aid, noises blend together and it is difficult to discriminate between the sounds you want to hear and those you don’t.

Mask tinnitus

If you experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears), wearing two hearing aids can help by masking the tinnitus sound. Hearing aids are frequently recommended for tinnitus relief.

Delivers a higher overall satisfactions

Many studies show that people who wear two hearing aids, if required, are more satisfied than those who choose to wear only one. The quality of sound provided by two hearing aids significantly enhances the listening experience. Most say once they’ve tried two hearing aids, they would never go back to wearing just one.

Find out more on Hearing Aid Technology. Click here to download your booklet or call our information line on 1800 256 257 or email rejoin@chime.ie

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