I have memories of my grandfather wincing as his hearing aid made a high pitched squeal, or the look of frustration on his face when he had to interrupt a conversation to take his hearing aid out and adjust it. Today’s hearing aids are not those of previous generations. Thanks to digital technology and powerful computer chips, modern hearing aids are smaller, have better sound quality and are more effective than ever before. In fact, a survey of 1,500 hearing aid wearers found that 90 per cent were satisfied with the benefits of modern hearing aids (Kochin, 2005).
Hearing aids usually fit in or behind the ear and amplify sound to make it easier for those with hearing loss to participate in the world. They help people hear in both noisy and quiet environments. Today, most hearing aids are actually digital micro computers that adjust automatically so sounds remain audible and comfortable. Digital technology allows an audiologist to adapt a hearing aid to the specific needs of its wearer. Aids can be specially programmed to amplify some frequencies more than others; some include self-learning technology that adapts to the wearer’s preferences. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders in the U.S., research is currently being done on how hearing aids can enhance speech signals or how directional microphones can be used to help people focus on a single conversation in a noisy environment. So stay tuned – hearing aids continue to make rapid improvements.
With so many hearing aid options available, the key to choosing the perfect aid for you is to work with an experienced audiologist who is willing to spend time with you to determine your preferences, expectations, hearing needs and budget. Audiologist Doran Hayes of Kawartha Hearing Care Inc. has 25 years experience as a musician, digital audio specialist and sound engineer. Her comprehensive understanding of sound and sound shaping makes her an expert at programming more natural sounding hearing aids, plus she is dedicated to treating every client with respect, honesty and care. To benefit from her knowledge and expertise, call (705) 320-9244.