By Rachel Lapham on 31st December 2015
What Makes Smart Hearing Aids Smart?
It Seems Everything is Smart These Days
It seems that everywhere you look, ordinary devices have become “smart”, phones, TVs, fridges even your toothbrush. So called smart devices can be easy to use, they can anticipate your needs, interact with you on a daily basis, and connect and work with many other consumer electronics. Modern hearing aids are no different, you may have heard of smart hearing aids, it is a term that is used more and more to describe the latest hearing devices available. As something you use all day long, it is a no brainer that hearing aids should be smart, too. But what exactly are the features of a smart hearing aid?
Smart Hearing Aid Features, What Can You Expect?
Working together as a pair
Although the organ of hearing is your ears, understanding actually happens in your brain. When we hear, our brain takes the input from both ears to make sense of what our ears are hearing. Hearing aids, even when fitted in both ears sometimes interfered with this natural hearing process. However, smart hearing aids are able to exchange information between them. This allows them to work as a pair making processing decisions together which allows them to mimic natural hearing. This feature goes by many names such as binaural processing, binaural hearing etc.
Automatically optimising for the sound environment
Smart hearing aid technology analyses the sound environment constantly, this allows it to optimise the performance accordingly. It simply means the hearing devices know what kind of sound situation you’re in constantly. Your listening needs and how they hearing aids should work will be different depending on your sound environment. Smart hearing aids accurately and instantly differentiate the sound environments and optimise their performance as needed. Different hearing aid manufacturers do this in different ways and may have different sets of recognised sound environments.
Automatically adapting to your needs
Having analysed the sound environment together, smart hearing aids use their ability to talk to each other to make processing decisions together. They then automatically adapt their performance to provide the best listening experience in that situation. For example, at a noisy gathering, they would automatically focus on the person talking in front of you while reducing speech and noise coming from other directions. However, in a quiet place the hearing aids would allow you to hear sounds from all around you.
Learning how you like to hear
Many of the latest smart hearing aids will also learn your specific listening preferences. As you use them they learn how you like them set in different situations. Some smart hearing aids like the Linx2 from Resound will allow you to set the your preferences for different physical locations. Then they will automatically change to your preferred settings when you go to that location. No hearing aid, no matter how smart, can fully anticipate your preferences from day one. What they will do is learn your preferences over time.
The latest smart hearing aids interact with all sorts of other electronics, this connection allows you unprecedented freedom. You can stream a phone call without touching your phone, listen to the music on your phone, or use apps like Pandora® or Spotify®, or watch a movie from your TV or tablet. Smart hearing aids can also be controlled easily and discreetly via free apps on your smartphone and even your smartwatch.
Smart hearing aids are available now
Smart hearing aids are available right now, if you are interested in them or you would like to find out more about how they can make your life better, or if you have any questions about hearing loss, hearing healthcare or hearing aids on the Isle of Man, give us a call on 01624 830722 or book your appointment online now