There Are Many Benefits To Digital Hearing Aids

Digital Hearing Aids

In recently years the assistive listening devices marketplace has been flooded with a huge number of new offerings in the way of digital hearing aids. At last count there were more than 40 different makes and models of these digital hearing devices that are manufactured by no less than twenty different manufacturers. And, while the popularity of digital hearing technology is unquestionably rising, many are left to wonder if digital is a better choice over analogue.

There is no question that we live in an era when most things that are digital are considered to be “state-of-the-art.” However, not everyone is convinced that digital necessarily equates with better, as seems to be a common assumption among many people. There are many people who claim that digitized hearing aids, while advantageous in many ways, are not necessarily always the best choice for everyone.

The first digital hearing aids were made available in the mid-eighties by two different manufacturers of hearing aids. Their units were the first to meld digital signal processing, known as DPS, with hearing aid products creating a cutting edge hearing device. However, these hearing aids were rather large, to accommodate the DPS, and therefore never gained in popularity.

About a decade later, two different manufacturers of hearing solutions reintroduced digitized hearing aids to the marketplace and this time they were much better received. This is because technology had advanced to the point that the DSP could be integrated into many of the most popular styles of these devices, including the behind the ear and in the ear hearing aids.

Even though these new digital aids were more expensive than their analogue cousins, they still enjoyed almost immediate popularity among hearing healthcare clinicians and also among consumers. This almost instant acceptance and success, combined with a promise of even more advanced signal processing in the future, quickly assured the marketplace that digital hearing aid technology had finally “come of age.”

But, the question still lingers for many: is the quality of the sound from digital hearing aids really better than the analogue versions? The answer really lies in the processing abilities that the digital technology provides and from that aspect the answer in a firm yes.

The experts say that digital hearing technology is not superior simply because it is digital. The advantage comes from the fact that the DSP give the manufacturers, the clinicians and the end users so many features and options for enhancing sound that analogue devices simply cannot deliver.

A few of the many advantages of digitized hearing aids over the analogue models include such things as: gain processing, which helps to lessen background noise while isolating conversational sounds; digital feedback reduction (DFR), which significantly reduces incidence of annoying, and often painful, feedback from the unit; digital noise reduction, which also helps eliminate background noise; digital speech enhancers; and, directional microphones. All of these features are virtually non-existent in analogue hearing aids.

Many experts in the hearing aid industry consider this era of advancements in digital hearing aids to be a very exciting time and they also expect that there will be additional breakthroughs and advancements in the years to come. As the digital technology continues to make better hearing available to more people, it is predicted that eventually digital hearing devices will completely eliminate the use of analogue aids.

Article By: Hearing Aid Labs

Basic Hearing Screen Test

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Who should do a hearing test? The answer is everyone, young and old alike. Generally, people will wait until they are having difficulty before getting their hearing tested. The reality is that they have most likely been living with hearing loss anywhere from 5 to 15 years before they take action. 

Things that increase your risk of hearing loss include noise exposure, both at work and recreational (motorcycles, guns, loud music), as well as your age. As hearing loss is found more often with increasing age, people 55 years of age and older are recommended to have their hearing tested annually (if a hearing loss exists) and every two years otherwise.

What’s Involved?

The first step will be to get to know your personal hearing health and medical history and find out what concerns you have.

Next: A basic hearing test involves carefully listening through headphones that are placed over the ears. You will be asked to listen for tones or beeps that vary in pitch and loudness and instructed to press a button when you hear the tones. We are searching for the softest sound you can hear.

The results of the basic hearing test are plotted on a graph called an audiogram. 

Your qualified audiometrist/audiologist will then explain the results to you and help you understand the functional impact of your particular hearing loss, leaving you with a clear understanding of your hearing health and a course of action to take moving forward.

We look forward to meeting you…

Article By: Hearing Aid Labs

What you need to Know About Tinnitus

Tinnitus

Have you ever experienced an annoying ringing sound in your ears after being in a loud environment for an extended time? The feeling is most likely acute tinnitus.

It is very bothersome, but fortunately it is only temporary.

People suffering from chronic tinnitus have to put up with this ringing in their ears constantly. The ringing does come and go but it never goes away completely, and can worsen over time.

Causes

There are a few different causes when it comes to chronic tinnitus, but the most common cause is age-related hearing loss. This obviously occurs naturally and there is not much you can do to prevent this.

According to the National Institutes of Health, exposure to loud noises for extended periods can also lead to chronic tinnitus.

Today’s younger generation are most at risk to develop tinnitus because of their exposure to a wide range of audio devices. A report published in 2016, found that 30% of adolescents suffered from chronic tinnitus.

Prevention

As the age-old saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

The simplest way to prevent chronic and acute tinnitus is to protect your ears from loud noises. You can do this by:

  • Wearing specialised ear plugs when you expose yourself to loud noises
  • Try avoid going to really noisy concerts
  • Try avoid going to football matches, sporting events etc.
  • Make sure you listen to music at a reasonable volume

Remember that any sort of ringing you experience in your ears shows that you have sort of damage to your ears and it should serve as a reminder for you to take caution.

Treatment

Most people suffering from tinnitus also suffer from hearing loss, so hearing aids are often the most common form of treatment. Some play a pleasant, low level sound to drown out the annoyance of the ringing.

Want to know more about the health of your ears? Book a free screen test at one of our countrywide branches. Hearing Aid Labs are absolute professionals in their field, and are here to help maintain and improve your hearing!

Article By: Hearing Aid Labs

The different types of hearing protection

Hearing Protection

The different types of hearing protection

Hearing loss that has been induced by noise can be easily prevented with the right ear protection. Hearing loss that results from excessive noise, is usually brought about when the tiny hairs in your ear canal sustain permanent damage. These small hairs are the ones charged with the responsibility of picking up sound waves and once they are damaged permanently, they cannot be restored or repaired. Therefore, investing in proper ear protection is vital, especially if you operate in a noisy environment on a regular basis.

Types of ear protection

There are many various types of hearing protection, each with their distinct benefits. The purpose of any ear protection is to reduce the effect of a noisy environment so that the risk of noise-induced hearing loss can be reduced. Types of ear protection include:

Foam earplugs

Foam earplugs are inexpensive and they are ideal for use in factories or noisy construction sites. Although foam plugs can offer sufficient protection, they have a higher chance of irritating the ear, especially if the foam is made from inexpensive material. Foam earplugs should always be inserted using clean hands to reduce the risk of developing external ear infections.

Wax balls

Wax balls are designed to completely seal off your hearing so that you can be protected from the interference of the outside world. When purchased, it is best to use wax balls just once to get the most value from them.

Earmuffs

Earmuffs come in a range of shapes, designs, and sizes so your choice will be based on your preference. Earmuffs are some of the most commonly used types of ear protection because they are easily accessible and are easy to fit. Earmuffs do not need to be specially designed- all you have to do is secure them over the head. Ear muffs are great for irregular use such as when doing landscaping work at home. Ear muffs are also used regularly in cold climates because they offer hearing protection and warmth at the same time.

Silicon plugs

Silicon plugs resemble foam plugs closely but they are usually a lot more comfortable to wear in comparison owing to the softness of the silicon material. Silicon plugs can only be used to cover the auditory canal and they may not be inserted completely into the ear.

Earplugs

Ear plugs are the most common types of ear protection worn today. Earplugs are designed to fit directly into your ear canal, which means that they offer a higher level of protection compared to most varieties. If you work in a very noisy environment, then you should definitely invest earplugs.

Article By: Hearing Aid Labs

Signs that you need to fix or replace your Hearing Aid

Hearing Aid Labs

Signs that you need to fix or replace your Hearing Aid

If you are having problems with your hearing aids, you may need to have them repaired or replaced. Hearing aids are just like many kinds of tech out there; at some point, they will start to break down or develop faults particularly if you have had yours for a long time. Depending on the extent of the damage, hearing aids can be repaired, fixed with replacement parts or the entire model can also be replaced. So how do you know that your hearing aid needs to be fixed or replaced? Here are some signs that can help you figure it out:

You are having a hard time hearing

Although it might seem obvious to have your hearing aid replaced when you start having trouble hearing people, the hearing loss might not be immediately noticeable at first because the loss is usually so gradual that it may take you a while to notice. Hearing aids do degenerate over time so if you are suddenly finding it harder to understand people, you may need to have your hearing aid seen by a professional in order to improve your quality of hearing.

Your hearing aid has stopped working altogether

If your hearing disappears altogether, it might be that your device has stopped working completely and it could be as a result of several reasons. Sometimes hearing aids stop working commonly due to a dead battery. If this is the case, the good news is that it can be fixed with a simple battery replacement. Other times, the tubing that connects the receiver to the ear mold may have gotten clogged up by wax, in which case the tuning will have to be replaced. If you check and find that none of these issues to be the cause, your next stop should be your audiologist’s office.

You have had your hearing aid for more than 5 years

Although hearing aids today have improved in quality since the days of yore, most hearing aids are realistically designed to serve you between 4 and 6 years. All hearing aids, even the best ones, are bound to break down at some point. Because of the natural exposure to components such as wax and moisture, those complex devices are not meant to last forever no matter how well you take care of them. Therefore, if you have had your hearing aid for some time, you may want to have it replaced not only to improve your quality of hearing but also so you can get one with more advanced features and capabilities.

Article By: Hearing Aid Labs

Tips for Holiday Vacationing if You Use Hearing Aids

Tips for Holiday Vacationing if You Use Hearing Aids

So, you are thinking of going on a holiday vacation. Do you plan to go to a sandy beach, take a hike, swim, dive or just relax away from the hustle and bustles of everyday life?

Taking some time off to kick back and unwind in an exotic location is good for you. It can do wonders for your health and overall well-being. But if you use hearing aids, there are a few measures that you need to take to ensure that your vacation is hassle-free.

What to Look Out for?

As you might already know, water and dust are two arch enemies for your hearing aids. Unfortunately, these are often found aplenty in most vacation spots, including beaches, resorts, safaris, and so forth.

Remove your Hearing Aids before Swimming

When you are on a beach, your hearing aids are at the most risk of being damaged. This is especially true if the beach is a bit too windy, sweeping lots of moisture and dust towards your ears. If dust gets into your aids, it can not only cause damage but also clog them up. The same goes for moisture, which can damage the hearing aids circuitry. So, if you must take a dip in the water, be sure to remove your hearing aids and keep them securely in their storage box.

Your Packing Checklist

As a hearing aids wearer, here’s a handy checklist for you:

  • Spare filters
  • Extra battery
  • Hearing aids case
  • Cleansing kit
  • Hearing aid protection (this is optional but important if you’re flying).

What If Your Hearing Aids Get Damp

Vacations are all about fun and getting a little carefree. If you a particularly active person, you might want to watch out for excess moisture. So, what if your hearing aids get wet accidentally? DON’T PANIC! Follow these simple steps to ensure that it’ll make it intact:

  • Switch it off promptly
  • Remove the battery immediately, and dry off the moisture using a dry cloth
  • If the water in question is ocean or salty water, rinse your hearing aids with clean water
  • Let it dry thoroughly folded into a tissue paper or newspaper
  • If you are unsure that it is dry enough, or you suspect it has been damaged, don’t hesitate to bring it to our nearest branch for expert inspection.

Can I Dive with my Hearing Aids?

Absolutely not. Even if you have waterproof aids, they cannot withstand pressure build-up under water.

Can I fly with my Hearing Aids?

That’s a resounding, YES – they will not interfere with your flight or airport security checks at all.

Happy vacationing!

Article By: Hearing Aid Labs

Top causes of hearing aid damage

Hearing Aid Labs

Hearing aids are crucial for anyone that suffers from hearing loss issues. When you are fully dependent on hearing aids to communicate, keeping your hearing aids well maintained and in working order is always a top priority.

But sometimes hearing aids are not the easiest gadgets to take care of. Although most hearing aids today are designed to be as high quality and resilient as possible, they are still vulnerable to day to day use. So what causes hearing aid damage? Let’s explore the top causes of hearing aid damage:

Improper cleaning

Hearing aids are electronic gadgets, and like all electronics, they can be damaged when cleaned improperly. These small gadgets, though sophisticated, are typically exposed to conditions that are less than ideal. The existing moisture and earwax inside your ear canals can get into the receiver and the tubing, therefore, causing them to malfunction.

To get rid of the earwax and moisture, the cleaning process requires the use of proper tools such as wax picks and the appropriate brushes for at-home cleaning. If left unchecked, ear wax can accumulate at the end of the hearing aid, therefore, leading to muffled sounds or whistling. Left for long enough, the receiver can damage altogether unless a pick and brush are used to get rid of the accumulated wax. Here are several more things to avoid when cleaning your hearing aid:

  • Never use household cleaning agents to clean your hearing aid
  • Similarly, avoid using wipes or anything covered with chemicals when cleaning
  • Never poke inside your hearing aid using objects such as safety pins or a paperclip to avoid damaging the components situated inside.

Improper storage

It is pertinent that you store your hearing aids properly when not using them to avoid unnecessary repairs of damage. As a rule of thumb, hearing aids should be stored in a cool and dry environment- moisture is often a prime cause of damage. As such, you should avoid storing your hearing aids in areas such as bathrooms or inside a hot car.

Careless handling

Hearing aids are not indestructible so careless handling such as dropping them on hard surfaces can cause damage that is sometimes irreversible. Always be careful when handling your devices. When taking them out and placing them in, always make sure that you are in a seated position to avoid the risk of dropping them. When you first start using your gadget, it might help to wear them over soft surfaces, such as on top of your bed, to avoid damaging them even if they happen to drop.

Article By: Hearing Aid Labs