Advice & Information
Hearing Aid Technology Today
When you think of a hearing aid, your first impression may be a clunky, unattractive earpiece.
However, hearing aid technology has advanced rapidly in recent years. These days there are tons of new options that are tech-enabled and personalized for every wearer.
Let’s explore how hearing aid technology has progressed and what types of new high-tech models are on the market today.
- Overall Trends in Hearing Aid Technology
- High-Tech Trends for Hearing Aids
- Best Brands of Hearing Aids for Seniors
- Leverage Today’s Hearing Aid Technologies
- Hearing Aid FAQs
Overall Trends in Hearing Aid Technology
It’s no wonder that 80% of seniors who need hearing aids don’t use them, according to the International Journal of Audiology. In the past, hearing aids were expensive, uncomfortable, unattractive, and not as effective as wearers hoped.
Today, that’s changing. Advances in digital technologies are allowing hearing aid manufacturers to create options that are more efficient, tech-enabled, and discreet compared to older models.
For example, most hearing aids on the market today include top technologies such as:
- Digital noise reduction – automatically reducing background or environmental noise
- Better directionality – automatically amplifying sound from the face-front direction and eliminating noise from other directions
- Synchronization – coordinating across both hearing aids for a seamless experience
- Open-fit technology – a comfier fit that uses earmolds or soft materials
- Data logging – automatically storing data on personal preferences for fine-tuning, including volume and more
High-Tech Trends for Hearing Aids
In addition, hearing aids can now do more than ever. Some exciting trends support seniors by offering health support beyond just hearing care:
1. Bluetooth Compatibility
Bluetooth allows seniors to enjoy two-way audio and direct listening to paired apps. It also helps with sound quality by processing it directly and limiting interference with other noises.
For example, seniors with Bluetooth hearing aids can stream music and enjoy phone calls with loved ones directly into their earpieces. This also goes for other apps, such as Netflix, audiobooks, podcasts, and more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has also been incorporated into many hearing aid models. These AI algorithms aim to automatically analyze and adjust sounds according to the wearer’s preferences, such as volume control, familiar voices, frequent environments, and more.
Ultimately, this provides a highly personalized experience that enhances the wearer’s comfort without requiring manual adjustments.
3. Hearing Aid Apps
In addition, some hearing aids are now paired with apps that offer a range of personalization settings. For example, many provide assistive listening services, such as routing phone calls, offering speech-to-text, and/or analyzing data for fine-tuning.
Hearing aid apps are also ideal for checking battery life, contacting your hearing care provider, and utilizing other brand-specific features. Ultimately, with the app, you no longer have to touch the hearing aid itself to update settings.
4. Rechargeable Batteries
Another great benefit of new hearing aid models is having rechargeable batteries. In the past, changing out those tiny hearing aid batteries was a pain for seniors. Now, hearing aids offer rechargeable batteries that connect directly to an outlet, just like a phone or tablet. This makes it easier for those who once struggled to keep their hearing aids fully charged.
5. Fall Alert and Health Monitoring
Finally, new hearing aid brands (such as the Evolv AI by Starkey) can detect when you’ve had a fall. If this happens, the hearing aid app will automatically call 9-11 or an emergency contact. For older adults who are reluctant to wear a pendant or smartwatch for fall detection, these hearing aids can be a perfect choice.
Some hearing aids offer other health monitoring features, such as heart rate metrics, a pedometer, and more. This is an excellent idea for monitoring your health without needing extra wearables.
Best Brands of Hearing Aids for Seniors
If you’re keen on leveraging these new types of high-tech hearing aids, you may be wondering what the best brands are.
Here are some of the most frequently mentioned brands, according to hearing aid forums and reviews:
Of course, every individual has different preferences and needs, so you should consider which brand and features are best for your situation.
Leverage Today’s Hearing Aid Technologies
Hearing aids are no longer the bulky, frustrating devices they once were. Today, older adults like you can feel empowered to hear better and leverage new features to achieve a positive hearing lifestyle.
At Varenita, we work closely with our Simi Valley assisted living residents to coordinate health services, including hearing care. Learn more about our health services and partners and feel free to get in touch with any questions.
Hearing Aid FAQs
What’s the Average Cost of Hearing Aids Today?
According to Forbes Health, the average cost of one hearing aid is about $2,000 and most wearers require two, which results in an average cost of $4,000. That said, the price may go as high as $7,000 depending on the style of the hearing aid, the technology, and the brand.
It’s also important to note that some hearing aid providers bundle services, so the price of the hearing aid may include a hearing test, consultation, adjustments, and more.
Does Medicare Pay for Hearing Aids?
Unfortunately, Medicare doesn’t pay for hearing aids or hearing tests for fitting aids. This is because Medicare considers hearing loss a natural symptom of aging.
However, if you hold private insurance, you may have full or partial coverage of hearing aids, so check with your provider.
Can You Get Expensive Hearing Aids Insured?
Yes, insuring your hearing aids is a good idea, especially if you chose an expensive model. First, check your hearing aid’s warranty.
Typically, the warranty is 1-3 years and you won’t have to purchase insurance for your hearing aids until this runs out. According to AARP, the price of insuring hearing aids is about $300 a year for high-tech brands.