Digital hearing aids entered the field of audiologic treatment during the mid to late 1990s, and the technology behind them never really stopped making significant improvements from that point onwards. Thanks to how far we have come in the field of mobile hardware and assistive software, the newest and the best hearing aids available today come with some truly amazing features. A discussion on the topic should help us understand exactly what kind of features can be expected from top-of-the-line hearing care systems today.
Fuller Speech Reproduction
The best hearing aids available today deliver a fuller and richer hearing experience that goes beyond just the regular clarity of speech. The user should not only be able to hear people better, but what they hear will sound less mechanical and more unform in cadence as well. This is owed partly to the fact that top of the line hearing aids use high quality microphones capable of catching and converting soundwaves across a considerably wider range of frequencies and dynamics.
The captured and converted electrical signals are then processed, amplified, cleaned, and reproduced as audible soundwaves, meant specifically to counter the user’s hearing impairment. The entire processing is completed and controlled by built-in, preprogrammed smart software that is capable of automatically finetuning the processes involved and providing the best hearing experience possible for each user.
Richer Media Experience
The primary processes used to reproduce high-quality music for those with hearing impairments is the same as explained above. However, there are a few crucial differences now that were not there even a few years ago. Instead of using the same settings for processing soundwaves generated by speech, music, podcasts, movies, and everything else, good hearing aids now come with several different preprogrammed settings for processing sounds from different sources.
The best hearing aids come with similar settings, but they don’t need to be adjusted manually to suit the sound source. The built-in software should be capable of automatically recognizing the source and changing the processing range to provide the best hearing experience possible. As a result, the system should be able to make all forms of media sound richer, fuller, and more enjoyable than before for the user.
Bluetooth may not be the first thing that comes to people’s mind when they think of hearing aids, but it’s very much a standard part of any mid – high end hearing system these days. However, if someone is looking for the absolute highest end products, they should not expect anything older than Bluetooth v5.0 – v5.3. As for exactly why Bluetooth is an important feature to expect from a high-end hearing system, the following points should help in explaining that part better.
Bluetooth enabled hearing aids work in the same way that Bluetooth earphones (with mic) do for people without hearing impairment. The wireless connectivity allows a user to:
- Both take and make seamless, wireless calls their connected smartphone, tablet, laptop, or any other Bluetooth enabled device with calling capabilities.
- Enjoy music, movies, podcasts, and all other forms of media in better quality and privacy.
- Stay connected with multiple devices at once, without losing any sound clarity.
- Stay mobile and active (within range) while on a call or listening to something, without losing the signal quality.
Most importantly, Bluetooth hearing aids receive almost lossless signals from all connected sources, which inevitably leads to a considerably clearer, fuller, and higher quality of sound reproduction inside the user’s ear(s). Sound quality via a Bluetooth connection will always sound better to someone with impaired hearing, as opposed to any soundwaves received from external sources, be it a pair of speakers, or someone’s voice box during in-person conversations.
Adaptive Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
If incoming soundwaves are not filtered through any ANC at all, it can make the hearing system more or less useless in even moderately loud environments. Therefore, active noise cancellation is a necessary feature which can be found in any decent hearing aid that’s available nowadays. However, it’s the quality, versatility, and capability of an adaptive ANC system that sets the best hearing systems aside from the rest. If it’s really good, then the active noise cancellation system should not just be powerful, but it should also be responsive and adaptive.
The built-in smart program should be capable of automatically adjusting the noise cancellation levels in response to the surrounding environment. High ANC in a quiet place can muffle or even mute all sounds, including active conversations. Similarly, inadequate noise cancellation levels in a loud environment can either make background noise sound too loud for the user to make out what they need to hear. The best hearing aids balance all aspects automatically, but they can also be adjusted manually if needed.
The features stated will be experienced differently by different users because not even the best hearing aids in the world can promise identical effectiveness for everyone. It depends on multiple factors such as the kind of hearing impairment a user is suffering from and how severe their hearing loss is. Nevertheless, most people who have not upgraded their hearing aids in the last few years can certainly expect to notice a significant improvement over their old device. If they have never used a decent hearing aid personalized and tuned by a professional, the improvement can almost feel overwhelming at first.