Gone are the days of the clunky, whistling hearing aids that you may remember from previous generations. Just as laptop, cell phones, music players and other electronic devices have become ergonomic, stream-lined, smart, and fast, hearing aids have undergone something of a renaissance in the past few years. Hearing aid manufacturers have taken feedback from consumers and hearing health providers alike to create incredibly useful and advanced technology.
As we approach the end of 2018, we round up the most exciting features available in today’s hearing aids to support a modern lifestyle.
Headphones, cell phones, portable speakers – and in recent years, hearing aids are able to connect to other devices through Bluetooth technology. Hearing aids with wireless connectivity utilize Bluetooth to connect with your smartphone, which allows you to use an app to control your listening experience. In the past, hearing aids required manual adjustments, which was particularly difficult for people with dexterity issues. Now, it just takes the simple tap on a smartphone app to change listening preferences, volume levels, and other features such as tinnitus therapy.
With wireless connectivity, hearing aid wearers can stream phone calls, music, TV shows, and other media directly to their ears. This eliminates the need for headphones when you’re making a call on the run or you want to catch up on your favorite podcast on your daily commute. Furthermore, this connection with your smartphone often provides another exciting new hearing aid option: tagging your listening preferences with GPS. This allows you to save your preferences based on your location; when you return, your hearing aids automatically adjust to your saved preferences, giving you a truly natural and seamless listening experience.
While hearing aid models do still offer the traditional route – changing out batteries as they run low – many consumers have called for a rechargeable option. This makes sense, especially when the bulk of our electronics have fast-charging options. Rechargeable hearing aids are now fueled by lithium-ion batteries, the same ones you find in your phone and laptop. Offered by the majority of the Big Six manufacturers such as Phonak, Widex, Unitron, ReSound, Oticon, and Starkey, rechargeable hearing aids are simple to use and incredibly efficient. Drop your hearing aids into the recharging unit over night and wake up to fully charged hearing aids, some of which last up to 24 hours of unlimited listening. Most manufacturers offer a travel charging pack, which is especially useful for folks who are often out of the house! Rechargeable hearing aids also offer the confidence that your devices will not run out of batteries at inopportune times.
In particular, Starkey Hearing Technologies’ Livio AI is a new hearing aid that has caught up with AI offerings that are not far off from devices like Alexa and Siri. Hearing aids and artificial intelligence are a match made in heaven. For jet-setters, the live translation feature is an exciting addition to the hearing aid. With the capability to stream live translation directly to your ears, the world of travel is your oyster! This also helps for business people who often find themselves in meetings with international colleagues. Livio AI also has smart features to notify 911 if you’ve fallen, and it tracks your steps which helps you with your fitness goals.
Looks aren’t everything, but when it comes to hearing aids, consumers often call for discreet design. Modern hearing aids are less visible than ever before, especially with certain behind-the-ear and receiver-in-canal models. The small tear-drop design means that the plastic compartment that rests behind your ear is less visible. Furthermore, with many different colors to match your skin and hair, these small models blend right in. Some hearing aids have improved their invisible offerings, such as the Signia Silk, which uses a trademarked Click Sleeves design to ensure that the completely-in-canal hearing aids fit on the first try.
Learn More at Audibel
Whether you’re new to hearing aids, or you are ready for an upgrade, contact us at Audibel. It is important to take a hearing test annually, as your hearing abilities may have changed, especially if you’ve been wearing the same pair of hearing aids for more than five years. If you’re interested in learning more about the exciting new hearing aid offerings, contact us at Audibel today.