Everywhere you look in today’s society technology is evolving at a rapid pace. From self-driving cars, to smart watches, to virtual assistants, technology is changing the way we live our lives.
While technological progress can feel overwhelming, or even potentially dangerous, there is so much to feel good about in recent hearing aid advances. With multiple manufacturers competing to make smarter, better, faster products, today’s consumers have lots of exciting choices for their hearing care. Below are five of our favorite hearing aid trends that we think you should be aware of:
1. Rechargeable technology
If you have ever found yourself silently cursing your hearing aid as you attempt to delicately remove and replace the battery, you are not alone! Hearing aid batteries have grown smaller and smaller over the years to accommodate the slender styles made possible by smaller micro-processing chips. While that’s a plus for hearing aid fashion, it has made replacing the tiny batteries within each device a cumbersome chore.
The good news is the replaceable battery is rapidly giving way to rechargeable options. This technology has been refined over the last few years, and is now truly convenient and easy to use. Take the newest Oticon device, the Opn S, that was just released this March. It features a lithium-ion battery that fully charges devices in just three hours with enough power to last through a full day of music-streaming, TV-watching, and entertaining. Rechargeable options are here to stay.
2. Water resistance
One of the best things about treating hearing loss is the way it reconnects you to activities you love. This time of year is perfect for hiking, swimming, boating, and other outdoor activities. Years ago you would have had to leave your hearing devices behind or risk injuring them if they came in contact with water, dust or debris.
No longer. Major manufacturers like Phonak, Oticon, and Unitron are now creating devices with IP ratings as high as 68. While intentional submersion in dirty water or debris is not recommended, these devices are hearty enough to keep up with your outdoor activities without fear of exposure to the elements.
3. Personal health trackers
Since the introduction of the first Fitbit in May of 2015, consumers have fallen in love with personal health tracking devices. Whether you’re monitoring your heart rate, adjusting sleeping patterns, or just trying to get your steps in, these tiny devices proved the value of wearables for monitoring our health.
Hearing aids, a classic wearable technology, are jumping on the health tracking bandwagon with programs like Healthable. Available in newer Starkey devices, this technology uses 3D motion sensors to detect movement, track activities and recognize gestures. This not only allows it to report health and fitness data, but also allows it to recognize if the user falls. The technology then alerts pre-designated contacts who can help ensure the wearer is safe. While hearing treatment has always been important for overall health, Healthable takes that to a new level.
In many households the noise level of the TV can be a frequent source of conflict. Hearing loss not only makes things sounds quieter; it also can specifically impact many of the frequencies associated with speech, making it especially difficult to hear amplified sound through a television or phone.
With new Bluetooth technology coming standard in most devices, that conflict is no longer an issue. Today’s hearing aids can connect with your smart watch, phone, TV and virtually any other device you can imagine. Say goodbye to conflict and hello to all of the great entertainment and conversations you were missing out on before.
5. Customizable, personalized settings
For those with normal hearing, it’s easy to take for granted all of the adjustments our brains make to help us hear the sounds that matter. Historically, hearing aid wearers have been painfully aware of the differences, perhaps struggling with conversation at a restaurant only moments after hearing perfectly at home.
To help achieve a more natural, comfortable sound experience many of today’s devices come with individual settings that can be adjusted to match the wearers lifestyle. If you spend time driving with lots of passengers, today’s devices can remember specific settings to help amplify conversation while toning down road noise. Are you a motorcycle fan? Talk to your audiologist to create a setting that tunes out wind noise while picking up the sounds of nearby vehicles. No matter your lifestyle, today’s devices allow for the customization necessary to help you achieve your best life.
Are you curious if you’re getting the best device for your hearing needs? Schedule an appointment with our board-certified audiologist to learn about the latest in hearing technology and create a treatment that’s customized to fit your lifestyle. Call 863-386-9111 to schedule an appointment today.