A Guide to Hearing Aid Features

an audiologist showing her patient a selection of new hearing aids

When choosing hearing aids, it is important to consider the different styles available, but you also need to decide which added features are most important to you. Your audiologist will take you through the different types and the relative pros and cons of each, but you should also read this list of hearing aid features so you have an idea of what is available. 

Noise reduction and directional microphones

All hearing aids have some level of noise reduction, but it varies depending on the model. The level of noise reduction that you need depends on your overall lifestyle and how often you are in noisy environments.

Many digital hearing aids have directional microphones that are capable of pinpointing sounds from certain areas and amplifying those signals while dampening other signals. So, if you are in a busy restaurant, the voice of the person opposite of you is amplified but the background conversations from the other diners are reduced. 

Telecoils 

Telecoils are a relatively common feature in hearing aids and they are useful for the majority of people. However, they are particularly important if you talk on the phone on a regular basis. A telecoil is a small magnetic coil, which can pick up signals in place of the microphone. If you are using a telecoil-compatible phone, you will find it easier to hear. Many public buildings also have an induction loop installed, which allows you to use the telecoil for improved hearing. 

Direct audio input 

Direct audio input is a simple alternative to a telecoil. Hearing aids with this feature allow you to connect your hearing aid directly to speakers, computers or televisions with a cable. This is often an easier, more reliable way to improve sound when using devices. 

Wireless connectivity 

Although direct audio input is effective, many modern hearing aids use wireless connectivity instead. Using a Bluetooth signal allows you to connect wirelessly to phones, computers and televisions. In some cases, you may need an intermediary device to pick up signals and transmit them to the hearing aids. 

Variable programming

Advanced hearing aids that are capable of adapting to different sound environments often have variable programming capabilities. They are able to store multiple presets with different settings so you can easily switch programs depending on the situation. So, if you are going from a quiet environment into a busy social event, your hearing aids can easily adapt.  

Remote controls 

Remote control features are quite common in hearing aids with lots of different settings. Many modern options allow you to connect through an app on your smartphone so you can change the volume, control variable programming and change noise reduction. Other hearing aids still have remote control features but you will get a separate remote instead of using a smartphone app.  These are some of the most common features you will find on hearing aids. If you speak to your audiologist about your lifestyle, they will help you determine which are the best for you.