When you have a hearing loss, everything doesn’t just sound quieter. You probably find certain sounds more difficult to hear and understand than others. Plus, some sounds are unpleasant, or even painful, like sudden loud noises, wind noise, or very high pitches. So if a hearing aid just made everything louder, it wouldn’t be very helpful!
Determining the right volume
Of course, hearing aids do contain technology to amplify sound signals: if you have a hearing loss, you can only hear sounds above a certain volume. But think about it – if everything was made louder to the same degree, noises like a police siren would become unbearable. That’s why hearing aids can be adjusted to cater to your own discomfort threshold. This threshold represents the maximum volume before sounds become unpleasant to hear. For most people without a hearing loss, this value is around 100 decibels (dB). Hearing aids can be set so that sounds won’t be heard above your discomfort threshold, to make sure you’re hearing comfortably.
Background noise and exact frequency ranges
Hearing aids also need to amplify the specific frequencies that you can no longer hear very well. Modern digital hearing aids can cater to your own hearing loss, and to the frequency ranges that you find the most difficult to hear, in a precise and targeted way.
For many people with hearing loss, their biggest challenge is background noise. Trying to have a conversation in a noisy environment, like a busy restaurant, means relying on some very complex processing mechanisms to single out a friend's voice – and when you have a hearing loss, this is much harder. Because this such a common difficulty, hearing aid manufacturers are constantly working hard to improve the technology to help tackle hearing in background noise. Thanks to years of pioneering research, current technology can now significantly improve your ability to hear and understand speech in loud, busy environments.
To help you hear better in other challenging situations, hearing aids also feature a variety of programs. When you switch your hearing aid to a set program, its settings update to what you need to help you hear best in that particular situation, some hearing aids even do this automatically. Hearing aids can also suppress background noise and unpleasant feedback whistling – so the infamous whistling sound that older hearing aids made is now a thing of the past.
Some hearing aids such as the new Phonak Lumity come with Bluetooth connectivity. This means they can connect to other Bluetooth-enabled devices like your mobile phone or TV set and send the sound straight into your ears through your hearing aids. In some cases, a small, additional connector is required, which transfers the signals your hearing aids and the Bluetooth-enabled device.
There are even apps available that can help you hear better.Thanks to this Bluetooth connectivity, smartphone apps can link to your hearing aids, allowing you to control them wirelessly.
You can find more information the hearing aids that available at Boots Hearingcare here. If you’re not sure whether you would benefit from a hearing aid, you can always take our free online hearing test
If the hearing check indicates that you might have a hearing loss, or if you would like to see a Boots Hearingcare expert for a more thorough hearing test, book your hearing test online
or calling us on 0845 270 1600.