If you have age-related hearing loss and it's getting more difficult to follow conversations, it may be time to start wearing a hearing aid. The first step is to visit an audiologist to have your hearing tested, so you can determine the right kind of hearing aid to buy. You'll find there are a variety of styles and options available, which makes it easy to find a device that works well for you. Here are a few hearing aid features you should know about before you buy.
Digital Noise Reduction
Digital hearing aids analyze sounds across a number of channels. This allows the device to suppress sounds that interfere with your hearing, such as background noises, and increase sounds, such as someone talking, that comes from the front. When you couple digital noise reduction with a directional microphone, your hearing aid is better able to pick up the important sounds you want to hear while turning down sounds that distract you or overwhelm normal speech.
More expensive hearing aids can store programs that recognize when you're in a noisy, crowded environment. The noise reduction and directional microphone automatically kick in to adjust the sounds, so you hear what's important. Other hearing aids have manual settings you can switch between to control the direction of the microphone.
Some newer models of hearing aids are being made with sound therapy generators. This may interest you if you have tinnitus along with your hearing loss. The hearing aid creates sounds that mask or cancel out the ringing you hear when you suffer from this condition. Some of the sounds relax you while others divert your attention away from the ringing in your ears. Tinnitus is most troublesome when it's otherwise very quiet, so having a constant soothing sound may provide some relief. You can switch from a variety of sounds and tones until you find something that works, and you can shut the sound off completely if it begins to annoy you.
The telecoil switch is a handy feature to have because it eliminates the annoying feedback whistle you get when you talk on the telephone. The switch turns off the microphone in the hearing aid so you can hear better through the telephone earpiece. Feedback suppression is a similar feature that prevents whistling sounds when your ear gets close to a telephone.
Direct Audio Input
Some hearing aid models, such as the ones that fit behind your ear, have direct audio input. This means you can connect directly to your TV, cell phone, or music player. You can even buy a hearing aid that has Bluetooth capability. That allows you hands-free use of your cell phone, which is a nice feature to have if you use your phone while driving. You need to adjust many of these devices manually, that's why this feature is in external hearing aids. However, some devices come with a remote control, just like the remote controller for your television. This allows you to adjust the volume and change programs without having to manipulate the hearing aid itself.
These advanced features make a hearing aid more functional, but they aren't absolutely necessary to hear better. You can buy a basic, inexpensive device if that is all your budget allows. The important thing is that your hearing improves enough so you stay socially involved and carry on with work or other duties where you engage in conversations you can hear and understand. Research your options online, such as at http://www.HearDenver.org, to find what works for you.Share
25 June 2015
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