Learn the Difference Between Basic and Advanced Hearing Aids

audiologist is showing different hearing aids

Choosing the right hearing aids can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your life, so it’s important to know the difference between the various models available. With the help of an experienced audiologist, you can find the right hearing aids for your hearing loss and obtain the best results.

Hearing aid technology has improved significantly over the years. In the last decade alone, there have been enhancements in the technologies and functions available. While there can be a marked difference between basic and advanced hearing aids, even today’s more basic styles can offer fantastic sound clarity.

In simple terms, hearing aids are comprised of four elements; a receiver, a processer, a microphone and a power source. It’s the quality and functionality of the processer which often differentiates between basic and advanced hearing aids, although other factors can play a role too.

Basic hearing aids

In general, basic hearing aids are less customizable than their more advanced counterparts. If you have a standard form of hearing loss, this might not matter too much. If you have a more unusual pattern of hearing loss, however, a basic model won’t deliver the fine-tuning capabilities which could be beneficial to you.

Basic hearing aids typically have less automated features too, so this means you may need to adjust your hearing aids manually in different situations, such as when you’re in busier environments. However, basic hearing aids do still come with a range of features and functionalities, such as:

  • Telecoil or hearing loop compatibility
  • FM compatibility
  • Feedback management
  • Wind noise reduction
  • Impulse noise reduction
  • Digital noise reduction
  • Direction microphone systems

When it comes to style, basic hearing aids vary too. Behind-the-ear (BTE) devices are one of the most common hearing aids available, so they can range in what kind of technology you want to equip them with, from basic to advanced. However, in-the-ear hearing aids are less visible when worn and can function as basic hearing aids too.

Advanced hearing aids

Advanced hearing aids typically offer the same functions as basic hearing aids but often deliver better quality. When it comes to feedback management systems, for example, basic hearing aids tend to reduce amplification to minimize interference and prevent your hearing aids from emitting an irritating whistling noise. In advanced hearing aids, however, feedback systems may successfully minimize feedback without reducing overall amplification. 

In addition, more advanced hearing aids tend to offer additional features which aren’t usually available on more basic models. For example, advanced hearing aids use increased automation and respond to external noise automatically. Rather than requiring you to manually adjust your hearing aids as you move from one environment to another, an advanced hearing aid is capable of adjusting in accordance with your environment and delivering the best auditory experience.

Using artificial intelligence, or AI, advanced hearing aids will not only respond to the environment, they will also ‘learn’ what your setting preferences are in particular settings and adjust accordingly. Reducing the need for manual adjustments even further, this functionality can enhance sound quality considerably. 

If you want to ensure compatibility with the latest devices and technologies, advanced hearing aids may be your best option. These tend to more compatible with smartphones, laptops and tablets, although basic models do offer some compatibility with certain devices. 

Most advanced hearing aids also offer binaural processing as standard, which is beneficial for people with hearing loss in both ears. In addition, advanced features may include rechargeable batteries, tinnitus masking features and connectivity to smartphone apps and tablets. 

The use of Bluetooth is also becoming common in advanced hearing aids. With Bluetooth connectivity, compatible devices can pair with your hearing aids and send signals directly to the processer. The ensures a suitable phone, tablet or other device can ‘listen’ to conversions, music, videos etc., and send it directly to your hearing aid, which will amplify the sound.

Advanced hearing aids are often less visible when they’re being worn, and many are manufactured as invisible-in-the-canal or complete-in-the-canal devices. As technology advances, it’s possible that even more features will be available in small in-ear styles. 

Selecting a basic or advanced hearing aid

Consulting with your audiologist will ensure you understand which styles and features are most likely to improve sound clarity, depending on the type of hearing loss you’re experiencing. Whether you opt for an advanced hearing aid or a more basic option, your audiologist will help you to obtain the best fit and the most suitable device for your needs.

To learn more, contact the Pacific Audiology Clinic now at 503-719-4208.