With rapid advancements in technology, the world of hearing aids is continuously evolving, improving users’ lives in ways they never anticipated. As Audiologists, we’re all about staying up-to-date with the latest hearing aid features to provide the best care and advice to our patients. This blog post explores some of the most recent updates in hearing aid technology that can greatly enhance your overall listening experience if you have hearing loss.

1. Bluetooth Direct-Connectivity:

One of the most significant advancements in hearing aid technology is the incorporation of Bluetooth connectivity. Traditionally, connecting hearing aids to smartphones or other devices needed separate devices called streamers. Now, hearing aids can directly connect to smartphones, TVs, and other devices without any additional accessories.

Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids allow you to receive phone calls, stream music, and watch your favorite shows directly through your hearing aids, providing better sound quality and a seamless experience. By removing the need for an intermediary adapter.  you can now enjoy the convenience of controlling your devices through a single app on your smartphone. Some aids will stream to Bluetooth enabled T.V.’s directly 

2. Telehealth and Remote Programming:

As telehealth services become more prevalent, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, hearing aid users can now benefit from remote hearing aid programming. This feature enables Audiologists to make adjustments to your hearing aid settings from a distance, without you having to go into the office. 

Remote programming is typically conducted by your Audiologist, through your smartphone app, developed by hearing aid manufacturers. This  offers convenience, as well as safety during periods of social distancing or restricted mobility. Are all the adjustments possible remotely that can be done in your Audiologist’s office? Usually not. However, this feature can be a godsend if you need a “quick tweak” from your vacation home!.

3. Rechargeable Batteries:

The incorporation of lithium-ion rechargeable batteries in modern hearing aids is a game-changer and significant convenience  for many users. Traditional hearing aid batteries needed frequent replacement, which could be inconvenient and challenging for some, especially those with dexterity issues.

With lithium-ion rechargeable batteries, you can simply place your hearing aids on a charging dock at night and enjoy a full day of power the next day. These batteries typically have the same lifespan as the hearing aids themselves, so there's no need to worry about replacements, saving time and reducing waste. Furthermore, many hearing aid manufacturers have extra lithium-ion batteries embedded in the charger dock itself, in case you are travelling or your power goes out.

4. Tinnitus Relief Features:

Tinnitus, characterized by persistent ringing in the ears, affects nearly 20 million Americans, and there is a strong link between tinnitus and hearing loss. Many modern hearing aids now incorporate tinnitus masking features that can help alleviate tinnitus symptoms.

Hearing aids can reduce tinnitus sounds by keeping your ears busy with outside sounds, relegating the internal noise of the tinnitus to the background. Additionally, most hearing aids have the capability of adding a little white noise or nature sounds,  which tends to mask the internal ringing/noises. This combined approach provides relief for those struggling with tinnitus while improving their overall hearing experience. These features are individually calibrated by your Audiologist.

5. Artificial Intelligence:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been revolutionizing the hearing experience by making hearing aids more automated and user-friendly. AI algorithms and data from your use of your devices can improve several hearing aid features, including:

- Automated environmental settings: AI hearing aids can detect the user's environment and automatically switch to the best sound settings for that unique environment.

- Improved speech recognition: AI hearing aids can separate the wearer's voice from external noise, allowing you to hear your voice more naturally and clearly, to the maximum extent possible.

- Health monitoring: AI hearing aids can track your social interactions, physical activity, and brain health using integrated motion sensors connected to your sound sensors. But dont worry, no “Big Brother!”..

Through these AI-powered features, hearing aids are becoming smarter and more adaptive to your needs and your unique environments.

6. Activity Sensors:

Did you know that some hearing aids now feature built-in activity sensors? Often found in wearable technology, these sensors can track a user's physical activity and social engagement.

The data collected by activity sensors can be fed through an app on a user's smartphone, providing insights into your overall wellness. These features not only support you with your hearing loss but also encourage you to stay active and engaged in your surroundings.

Embracing Innovation

While wearing this latest technology, it is important  to visit your Audiologist every 6 months to see if there are any software downloads for your hearing aids. 

This latest technology in hearing aids is transforming the listening experience for individuals with hearing loss, promoting easier communication and a better quality of life. As Audiologists,our promise is to stay informed about these latest innovations so that we can provide comprehensive, up-to-date care to our patients. By understanding and embracing these new advances, we can make a significant impact on the lives of those we serve.

Written by
Reviewed by
Craig T. Barth, M.A., CCC-A, FAAA
Founder & Audiologist
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Craig was drawn to Audiology through a curious route. His undergraduate college major was Pre-Med, with a secondary concentration in Music. He realized his own personal music appreciation cannot be fully experienced by someone with hearing impairment.