By Laura Friedman
Lifting your mood, boosting your energy, protecting your earnings, super-charging your social life — and even keeping your mind sharp. These are just some of the many spoils that come with facing and dealing with a noise-induced hearing loss that has been slowly but persistently creeping up on you.
The quality-of-life and feel-good benefits of treating even just mild hearing loss brought on by years of loud music, power tools, high-volume headphones, motor-sport engines, crowded night clubs and bars, noisy restaurants, and raucous sporting events are plenty. But in this digital age of smart phones and wearable technologies, the draw for many solution-minded consumers may be in the technology itself. Super-smart, super-sleek, super-convenient, and super-sophisticated — today’s hearing aids give you a multitude of reasons to address that hearing loss you’ve been trying so hard to ignore.
Consider these inspiring facts about today’s highly functional, high-powered hearing aids. They just may get you to finally do something about your hearing loss and make your life easier.
They’re cool, sleek, discreet and virtually invisible. The latest hearing aids offer functionality, style and effortless living. The designs are incredibly attractive and they’re much smaller than even conventional Bluetooth earpieces. Many of the latest hearing aids are so tiny; they sit discreetly and comfortably inside the ear canal, out of sight. Aesthetically, hearing aids have had a complete makeover.
They cut out background noise so you hear what you want to hear. Hearing aids now scan the listening environment and automatically adapt to it—even in the wind. There are even hearing aids that can actually “geo-tag” a location. So if it’s convenient for you to network at a certain coffee shop, your hearing aids will know when you’re there and adjust themselves accordingly.
New technologies not only help you decipher speech details in music and noise, but they better preserve and clarify the more subtle sounds of language — like the consonants B, S, F, T, and Z — so you can really follow what someone is saying. No faking.
You can hear from all directions — even when scoping out what’s in the fridge. Advanced directional microphone technology lets you hear from the back and side — something really important when driving a car. But it also makes it easier to hear voices more clearly in other everyday settings — like when your head is in the fridge and your significant other is talking at your back. Yes, that’s one great feature.
Digital, Bluetooth, and wireless capabilities in hearing aids are the now the norm. Many new technologies let you stream sound directly into your hearing aids — at the perfect volume — from your smartphone, laptop, conference-room speakerphone, home entertainment system, and other Bluetooth devices. Using a wireless mini-microphone — with cool, contoured designs, some even looking like a pen— placed on the restaurant or conference-room table, or near anyone you want to hear, makes it feel like they’re speaking directly and clearly into your ears, no matter how noisy the setting.
State-of-the-art hearing aids can do a lot for the person. They offer no whistling due to advances in digital technology. Most are hypoallergenic with nanotechnology coating to keep them clean and dry. Some are fully waterproof so you can swim or shower with them in, and some have rechargeable batteries.
There are even more disruptive hearing technologies on the horizon. Totally out-of-sight, semi-permanent hearing aids that stay in for two to three months let you shower and sleep in them, no fuss. Hearing aid manufacturers are deep in the trenches working to create future breakthrough technologies that will make it as easy as possible for the brain to decode speech and other sounds. After all, we really do hear with our brains and not with our ears. Some hearing aids with these technologies are already available.