Hearing aid features and benefits

Audible indicator

An audible indicator tone (usually a beep) informs you of which programme is currently in operation, that the volume control has changed or that the battery level is low.

Automatic programmes

As with the ‘listening programmes’ feature, there are a number of programmes available which the qualified hearing professional can pre-set for different listening situations. However, an automatic programme selects the optimum instrument settings without having you push a button or use a switch.
The instrument can listen to, and identify, the listening environment automatically and then switch to the appropriate settings.

Binaural synchronisation

Also called e2e or ear-to-ear wireless. The two hearing aids are synchronised to make a single hearing system for both ears. Listening programmes, volume control setting, noise management and directional microphones are all synchronised. This means that the two devices are always properly balanced so that you are able to localise sound better.

Compression channels

These are divided in a similar fashion to frequency bands. However, unlike frequency channels that are designed to amplify certain frequencies, compression channels are divided into a number of channels that restricts the range of sounds that you are exposed to. The qualified hearing professional will program the hearing aid to reduce the range of loud noises that you would normally be unable to tolerate. This is particularly useful for first-time hearing aid wearers who have become accustomed to a certain level of volume.
This division of channels allows frequency-specific adjustments to be made independently in that area. Some hearing aids have more channels/bands than others.

Data logging

This instrument records different data during the hearing aid’s use and these are then available to the qualified hearing professional to assist in fine-tuning. Data recorded includes: hours of use, types of listening environment encountered, listening programmes used and volume control position.
Based on that information the qualified hearing professional can re-programme the hearing aid to your specific requirements.

Feedback cancellation

Feedback is when the hearing aid emits a whistling noise. The whistling could be due to poor fitting with sound escaping through a gap. In this case, a repeat impression may be taken to remake the hearing aid and make the fitting tighter. Wax can often be a problem. If it becomes excessive or impacted this can cause feedback. Also, if you place anything over your ear – a hand or hat – that can cause feedback as well.
Feedback cancellation is an electronic system which takes the feedback frequencies, reverses the phase of the feedback signal and combines this with the original, resulting in the feedback being cancelled.

Adaptive feedback cancellation

Similar to the ‘feedback cancellation’ feature, but able to automatically adapt its speed of operation to improve performance under different environments, for example use of telephone, music and alarm beeps.

Directional microphones

A hearing aid with a directional microphone has two microphones - one that focuses forward and one that focuses backwards. This is different to hearing aids which have omni-directional microphones that detect and amplify sound from all around.
Directional microphones enable you to target the direction of hearing, as you require, from hearing all-round sound to being more focused on a single person or object. Directional reduces sound amplification from the rear and gives focus to the sounds from the front.

Adaptive directional microphones

This is a microphone that can detect the location of the strongest noise source and adapt its pick-up to minimise that noise. If the noise source moves then the microphone system adapts to keep that noise reduced. Some adaptive systems can work in more than one frequency band allowing the reduction of several different noises simultaneously even if they are all moving at different positions.

Automatic directional microphones

Automatic directional microphones select their mode of operation according to the listening environment. In a quiet situation they will operate in directional mode and adaptive directional mode if available.

Frequency bands

The total frequency range of the hearing instrument is divided into a number of bands in which the amplifier gain can be controlled to match your hearing loss. This is like a graphic equaliser on a music system. It allows the qualified hearing professional to tune the hearing aid to pick up the range of sounds that you need to hear more clearly.
The more frequency bands that the aid has, the finer the tuning can be to match those ranges of sounds that you need to help with your hearing. So you end up with crisper, clearer hearing.

Listening programmes

A number of pre-set listening situations can be programmed by the qualified hearing professional. This allows the instrument to have its settings optimised for certain listening conditions, for example speech in quiet, noise, TV and music. Each listening programme is selected by the user using a switch or push button on the instrument or via a remote control.

Music equaliser

The equaliser enables the wearer to enjoy music with a personalised music program setting. This allows music to be listened to naturally.

Noise reduction

This reduces the amplification of non-speech sounds. It makes it more comfortable in noisy conditions by automatically sensing and then reducing the background noise, for example in traffic noise in the street, busy pub or restaurant.

Speech enhancement

Speech has different sound patterns to background noise. On an audiogram, speech is ‘wavy’ and background noise is ‘jagged’. This feature allows the hearing aid to pick out the ‘wavy’ frequencies over the ‘jagged’ frequencies. It analyses sound signals and, where most noisy, reduces background noise to maximise speech.

Transient noise reduction

This is a specific noise reduction system that identifies and suppresses annoying sounds, such as rustling paper, breaking glass and clanging dishes, without affecting speech clarity. Often known as ‘sound-smoothing’ and ‘anti-shock’.

Wind noise reduction

Wind noise reduction is an electronic system that reduces the annoying sound of wind whistling over the microphones. The hearing aid detects windy conditions and adopts the hearing aid automatically for maximum comfort. This feature is particularly useful for people who participate in outdoor activities, such as golf.