October is Audiology Awareness Month, an annual occasion designed to raise awareness about hearing health. More than 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss; however, adults wait an average of seven years before seeking help. It’s been known for years that untreated hearing loss can lead to depression, reduced earning power, social isolation and cognitive decline. Although hearing loss in older adults is common, affecting approximately 30% of people over 60, hearing changes can occur at any age. Surprisingly, 65% of individuals with hearing loss are below retirement age.
Many cases of hearing loss can be treated and improved with hearing instruments. Technology has made significant changes in the past few years. Some of the newest advances include:
Size and Cosmetic Appeal: Today’s hearing devices are extremely discreet. Behind-the-ear hearing devices are smaller than ever before while some in-the-canal style hearing devices are nearly invisible.
Digital Technology: Advanced technology means a more accurate simulation of the way the ear works. That means sounds are more natural to the hearing device user.
Automatic Adjustments: Hearing devices can automatically adjust to rapidly changing listening environments, eliminating the need for manual operation by the hearing device user.
Hearing Better in Noise: Communication clarity in background noise is made possible by different features. The use of adaptive dual microphones can help wearers hear better in background noise by focusing on the speaker. Open platforms utilize extremely fast and precise processing to help one hear better even in difficult listening environments.
Own Voice Improvement: That stuffed up or “talking in the barrel” feeling has been reduced by slim design hearing devices that leave the ear canal open or unoccluded. Some manufacturers have software to help optimize a natural sound from one’s own voice.
Feedback Management Technology: Feedback management technology allows the hearing device to recognize acoustic feedback and reduce it. This makes hearing aid “squealing” a thing of the past.
Connectivity: Many styles of hearing devices now connect wirelessly to other Bluetooth® enabled devices. This allows the user to stream sound from a phone, TV or other device directly to the hearing instruments. Hearing devices can be used instead of a headset or earbuds to listen to music, movies, maps and audiobooks from a smartphone or tablet.
App Compatibility: Hearing instruments can be connected to devices and applications that allow the user to change settings and personalize the listening experience.
Tinnitus Solutions: For those who are bothered by ringing in the ears, tinnitus programs are available in some instruments.
If you are noticing problems with your hearing, suspect a loved one may be suffering from hearing loss or think you may benefit from new hearing technology, contact us today for a free consultation to see how SENT Hearing Aid Center can help you hear better.