How hearing aids are becoming more hi-tech

When hearing aids were introduced during the 1960s and 1970s, the devices were quite large and bulky in their design. Wearing them proved to be rather uncomfortable too, and all sounds around a wearer were amplified.

Fast forward to the present day though and these useful gadgets for supporting a person's independence as they get older look a lot sleeker and are not as annoying to wear. They come complete with many technological advancements as well, with audiologist Dr Stephen Kirsch pointing out: "Because people are living and working longer, the need for hearing aids is actually on the rise. Computer chip technology has greatly improved, providing better audibility but not necessarily better intelligibility - yet - but there are other advancements, too."

Here, Independent Living Help takes a look at just a couple of advancements which are enabling hearing aids to become more hi-tech...

Hearing aids which make use of Bluetooth

There are now both behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids which are designed with Bluetooth connectivity. Just take the devices on the market which can connect to products from Apple wirelessly via Bluetooth. Deemed ‘Made For iPhone' technology, the feature grants people the opportunity to listen to all audio that is coming from their iPhone, iPad or iPod gadgets directly via the hearing aids which they are wearing. They can even adjust the sound of the audio as they see fit, whether that is when taking a phone call, listening to music or trying to watch a movie or TV show.

Don't worry that you're missing out if you don't own any Apple products mind. Various manufacturers of hearing aids have taken the time to develop Bluetooth connection devices which are able to link up hearing aids to a wide variety of smartphones, mobile phones, and tablet computers.

Hearing aids which work alongside smartphones

Did you know that your smartphone can make it much easier to wear and use hearing aids? This is because a phone's app support can now allow someone who is using a hearing aid to adjust volume, alter sound amplification and create noise reduction through a few simple taps on their smartphone's screen. There are even some smartwatches available which can grant wearers the same functionality too.

One particularly handy app with this concept in mind is Thrive from Livio. Once downloaded, the application enables users to handily setup geotagged memories for their hearing aids. As such, preferred settings can be automatically adjusted based on a hearing aid wearer returning to a location — a coffee shop that they visit on a daily basis, for instance.

From the ability to make adjustments to a hearing aid on the fly to improvements being made to how audio is received from entertainment devices, there is no doubt that technology has helped to make hearing aids even more appealing to people as they get older.