Hearing aids are impressive pieces of technology. It’s a modern marvel that so many features, like a microphone, speaker and processing unit, can fit into a device no larger than the end of your thumb. But just like other electronic devices, hearing aids deteriorate and, over time, eventually stop working altogether.
Signs of a hearing aid’s decline
Annoying buzzing or crackling noises
Hearing aids should provide excellent sound quality, but when they get old (or have been damaged), then they can develop all sorts of annoying habits, including unexplained buzzing noises. If your hearing aids start buzzing or whirring, then take them to your audiologist and ask about repairs or an upgrade.
The battery runs flat after a couple of hours
There’s nothing more frustrating than going out for the day, only to have your hearing aids fail on you mid-morning because the battery has run dry. If you have a rechargeable hearing aid, regular outages could indicate that your battery has degraded to the point that it can no longer store charge. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to swap out the battery, meaning that you may have to replace the entire unit.
Some features have stopped working
If your hearing aids used to let you change the amplification of specific frequencies, but no longer respond when you try, then it could be a sign that they are damaged. Wax, moisture, and dropping them on the floor can damage sensitive internal components and prevent them from carrying out their function.
When is it time to upgrade your hearing aid?
How do you know when it’s time to upgrade your hearing aids? Let’s take a look.
You’ve had your hearing aids for a long time
Most manufacturers design their hearing aids to last between five and seven years, depending on the price, size, and model. Hearing aid batteries wear out, speakers lose their fidelity, and the onboard processor can degrade. If you haven’t changed your hearing aid in the last seven years, then it’s likely you’re due for an upgrade.
What’s more, hearing aids tend to deteriorate slowly over time. Because of this, you may not have noticed any reduction in sound quality. It’s often difficult to tell whether the noise they emit is worse than when you first bought them. Many people with hearing loss, however, are pleasantly surprised by the improved sound quality offered by a new, up-to-date device.
You need more features
Hearing aid technology has progressed substantially over the last decade, and the number of features available on devices has grown. A big reason to upgrade your hearing aids is for additional features that could make a substantial difference to your quality of life.
Suppose, for instance, that you have a lot of Bluetooth devices and you’d like them to transmit sounds directly to your hearing aid. Upgrading to a Bluetooth-enabled assistive hearing device allows you to do just that, cutting out the microphone entirely.
You may also want hearing aids that offer situational calibration, automatically adjusting settings according to your environment. The settings you need when talking to somebody across a crowded room, for instance, are different from those you need during a stroll in the park.
Your current hearing aids don’t provide sufficient amplification
Unfortunately, hearing loss can be a progressive condition: it often starts mild but can develop into moderate or severe. Many people choose smaller hearing aids when they have slight hearing loss, such as completely-in-the-canal varieties because they are invisible. But these styles don’t always provide sufficient amplification for people with more advanced hearing issues. Larger devices, such as in-the-canal, or behind-the-ear, offer greater amplification, providing you with a better hearing experience.
You want to make a fashion statement
Hearing aids used to be functional devices that said nothing about the person wearing them. But today’s manufacturers now make a variety of hearing aids in different colors and designs. A hearing aid, therefore, can be an expression of personal style, just like an iPhone or clothing accessories.
You want to be able to recharge your hearing aid
The non-rechargeable batteries in your hearing aid can be a major inconvenience, especially if you are using a completely-in-the-ear device. Buying new batteries, taking off the sticky tab, and waiting a couple of minutes for them to activate is a hassle: it’s much easier just to plug them into a charger and forget about them. Vendors now make fully rechargeable hearing aids to suit modern lifestyles.
If you want to upgrade your hearing aids or need more information, then talk to us at Northgate Hearing Services today at 206-367-1345.