Like any other technology, hearing aid technology is improving quickly and will continue to do so. Hearing aids are getting smaller and more discreet and even the smaller options are capable of holding some pretty advanced features. However, not everyone who needs hearing aids is interested in all of the high-tech features that could be available to them and nor do they need them. Some people are perfectly happy with more basic hearing aid features, especially if it will help them to save money. If you're looking for the right hearing aids, understanding the difference between basic and advanced technology will help you to choose the right hearing aids for you. Pacific Audiology Clinic can help you to find the right hearing aids, whatever your needs.

Basic hearing aid technology

Even the most basic hearing aids are still highly technological. As hearing aid technology continues to develop, what becomes the standard gets more and more advanced. Think of televisions, for example. While everyone used to have large, clunky sets, even the cheapest TVs on the market now have a slim profile. It's the same with hearing aids, although the technology might not always be developing in the leaps and bounds that TV experiences.

However, there can still be a considerable difference between the most basic hearing aids and more advanced options. One major difference with most basic hearing aids is that they tend to be more manual than more advanced hearing aids. Rather than having things like volume or settings for different environments adjust automatically, you might have to do it yourself. You can still program these types of hearing aids to meet your needs, but there is usually more of a focus on the more common hearing patterns, which can mean that custom options are limited.

Basic hearing aids might feature only a couple of channels, which reduces their functionality and accuracy. Basic hearing aids will often have directional microphones, which help to improve speech recognition. The front microphone emphasizes speech and other sound from in front of the wearer, while sounds from other directions are softened. However, more basic hearing aids probably won't have technology such as speech recognition and processing or noise reduction.

While basic hearing aids might not feature wireless technology such as Bluetooth, they often a couple of wireless features. One of them is the Telecoil, which allows users to connect to telephones or looped spaces, such as supermarkets, churches or theaters. Using the Telecoil helps to reduce feedback and improve the signal. Similarly, basic hearing aids sometimes feature FM compatibility, allowing them to connect to FM systems and provide similar benefits to the Telecoil. This can be especially useful for children in an educational setting.

Advanced hearing aid technology

Today's advanced hearing aids offer a broad range of features that you might or might not find useful. When you're choosing hearing aids, you should discuss the options with your audiologist to find out which features are best suited to your needs. Some of the advanced features you might consider include binaural processing, learning features and Bluetooth compatibility.

Binaural processing is ideal for anyone who wears two hearing aids. It allows the two hearing aids to communicate with each other and work together, processing sound from both sides at once, like your brain does. It means you have to do less manual programming. If you switch program on one hearing aid, for example, the same will happen in the other hearing aid.

Some hearing aids also have the ability to learn your preferences for different listening environments. You can program your preferred settings and your hearing aids can recognize different environments and automatically respond by switching to your specified settings. Even hearing aids that don't automatically adjust to different environments can log data about how you use them, which your audiologist can use to help customize your settings.

Bluetooth compatibility is a more advanced wireless technology, which some people like to choose for their hearing aids. Bluetooth allows you to connect to Bluetooth-compatible devices, which can include phones, computers and more. Using Bluetooth, you can have sound sent straight to the hearing aid's processor, reducing feedback that comes from the microphones.

You can consider a variety of hearing aid features when you're choosing the right ones for your needs. Your audiologist can help you to find the right features and get the best hearing aids to match your lifestyle and hearing requirements. Make an appointment by calling Pacific Audiology Clinic at (503) 719-4208.