Hearing Aid Accessories
Hearing aids are an excellent solution for 90% of patients with hearing loss. They work by amplifying sounds in the environment, improving the user’s ability to listen and communicate. However, it’s important to keep in mind that for all their benefits, hearing aids do have limitations in certain situations, especially when distance, background noise or poor acoustics are factors. Accessories are available to help boost their effectiveness and improve communication in many instances.
Before purchasing accessories, it’s best if you get used to your hearing aids first. Wear them regularly -- every day when possible -- so you can adjust to using them and familiarize yourself with their abilities. Also take note of those situations where they are less effective than you might hope. Because the cost of accessories can add up quickly, choose wisely. Bluetooth® technology is great for wireless streaming, but if you do not own a smart phone and rarely listen to music, it’s probably not a beneficial investment.
Popular hearing aid accessories
There are numerous products available to improve, maintain, or augment hearing aids. Popular accessories include:
- FM (Frequency Modulated) Systems. FM systems utilize radio signals to amplify speech in settings where background noise, distance or reverberation interfere with a listener’s ability to hear clearly. They consist of a microphone that is placed close to the speaker, a transmitter and a receiver that forwards the signal directly to the user’s hearing aid or cochlear implant. FM systems are especially useful in classrooms and lecture halls.
- Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs). ALDs function as personal amplifiers that separate speech from background noise and amplify sounds. They are similar to FM systems and help to overcome many of the same limiting factors such as background noise, distance and poor acoustics; in addition to radio signals they might also rely on infrared technology or inductive loop systems. ALDs are helpful in educational settings, places of worship and movie theaters.
- Wireless Accessories. Bluetooth technology utilizes wireless radio signals to allow users to stream sounds from their electronic devices directly to hearing aids. Hearing impaired individuals can listen to mobile phones, personal audio devices, computers, telephones and TV shows through their hearing aids without interference.
- Adaptors and Cords. Power adaptors improve versatility and convenience by allowing users to connect their hearing aids with a variety of audio devices including mobile phones, MP3 players, tablets and laptop computers. Cords for connecting devices are available in monaural or binaural configurations, depending on whether the user has one hearing aid or two.
- Wax Guards and Filters. These help trap potentially damaging earwax, preventing it from entering the hearing aids, extending the life of your hearing aids and providing you with sound that is natural and clear.
- Cleaning Kits. Keeping your hearing aids clean is essential to ensuring you get the most out of your investment. Cleaning kits come with a variety of tools helpful in keeping your hearing aids in good working condition; most include a wax removal pick and brush, a tube and vent cleaner, a battery door opener and a magnet for replacing the battery effortlessly.
- Batteries. Nothing is more frustrating than a dead battery when you’re in the middle of a conversation. Make sure to keep plenty of spare batteries on hand so you are never caught unprepared.