All About Upgrading Your Hearing Aids

Consider upgrading your hearing aids for improved functionality and to take advantage of advancements in technology, ensuring they align with your evolving hearing needs and lifestyle.

All About Upgrading Your Hearing Aids

by Dr. Kevin Ivory

Hearing aids are an essential tool for many individuals with hearing impairment, and with the rapid advancement of technology, there comes a time when you might consider an upgrade. While your current devices may still function, improvements in hearing aid technology could enhance your listening experience significantly. Factors such as performance issues, changes in hearing ability, or a desire for features that better suit your lifestyle may lead you to explore newer models.

When deciding on whether to upgrade your hearing aids, it's important to assess their current performance and your personal needs. If your hearing aids are not performing optimally or if they no longer align with the manufacturer's specifications, a consultation with your provider might reveal the necessity for an upgrade. Typically, hearing aids have a lifespan ranging from three to seven years, but this can vary based on individual usage patterns and maintenance habits.

Contemporary hearing aids offer an array of features that go beyond basic amplification, including improved handling of background noise, wireless connectivity, and even health monitoring capabilities. As your personal or professional circumstances evolve, these new features might align more closely with your daily requirements, justifying the transition to a more advanced hearing solution.

Understanding Hearing Aid Technology

In this section, you'll gain a solid grasp of the various kinds of hearing aids available and understand the essential components that make these devices work effectively for your hearing needs.

Types of Hearing Aids

Behind-The-Ear (BTE): BTE aids have a casing that sits behind your ear, connected to an earpiece by a clear tube. They are suitable for most types of hearing loss.

In-The-Ear (ITE): These devices are custom molded and fit entirely inside your outer ear. ITE aids are less visible than BTE types and can be easier to handle.

In-The-Canal (ITC): Smaller than ITE aids, ITC aids are partly visible in the outer ear and are custom-made.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC): CIC hearing aids are nearly hidden in the ear canal, making them the most discreet option.

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC): Similar to BTE, RIC devices have the speaker built into the ear tip instead of the main body of the hearing aid. Most hearing aids fit in the United States are classified as RIC, or receiver in canal, models.

Determining the Need for an Upgrade

When your hearing aids are not delivering the performance expected, it may be time to consider an upgrade. This decision can be based on functional issues or the desire to utilize newer technology.

Signs of a Problem

  • Performance: If your hearing aids are no longer functioning as they should, first try cleaning or repairing them. If these steps do not restore their performance, it might indicate a need for replacement.
  • Test-Box Measurement: A professional can conduct this test to check if your hearing aids meet the manufacturer's specifications. Poor results suggest the aids may require attention or upgrading.

Advancements in Technology

  • Lifespan: Hearing aids typically last between three to seven years. However, during this time, significant technological improvements can take place.
  • Benefits of New Technology:
    • Better sound quality: Newer models often provide clearer sound.
    • Enhanced connectivity: Modern hearing aids can seamlessly connect with other devices.
    • Innovative features: Advancements may include superior noise reduction and new settings for different environments. Recent features have been introduced, like advanced bluetooth connectivity, artificial intelligence, activity tracking and more.

Choosing the Right Upgrade

When selecting a hearing aid upgrade, prioritize advanced features that align with your hearing needs and lifestyle. Below, we delve into the specifics to aid your decision-making process.

Assessing Features and Benefits

  • Analyze Performance: Ensure the new model offers improved sound quality and clarity. Check for advanced noise reduction and speech enhancement features.
  • Battery Life: Consider models with longer battery life or rechargeable options for greater convenience.
  • Connectivity: Look for hearing aids that offer Bluetooth connectivity to link with your phone, TV, or other devices.
  • Personalization: The ability to customize settings and profiles is essential for adapting to different environments. This is typically done through the manufacturer’s smartphone app.

Compatibility with Lifestyle

  • Activity Level: Match the hearing aid durability and design to withstand your daily activities, whether you're active, outdoors often, or need extra protection from moisture.
  • Tech Usage: If you’re tech-savvy, a hearing aid with a companion app or telehealth features would be beneficial.
  • Comfort: The model should fit comfortably for extended wear, especially if you use them for most of the day.

The Upgrade Process

When you’re ready to upgrade your hearing aids, the process involves a careful consultation with a hearing professional, followed by a fitting and customization for your specific needs.

Consulting an Audiologist

Finding the Right Expert: Begin by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Kevin Ivory at Glendora Hearing Aids & Audiology. Dr. Ivory will assess your current hearing aids' performance and discuss advancements in technology that could benefit you 

Assessment and Recommendation: Dr. Ivory will test your hearing and may use test-box measurements to ensure that new hearing aids will meet the manufacturer's specifications for your hearing loss. Based on these findings, he may recommend suitable upgrade options.

Fitting and Customization

Tailoring to Your Needs: Once you select a new hearing aid model, Dr. Ivory will fit and program the device to address your specific hearing requirements. Real Ear Measurements (REMs) may be conducted to fine-tune the aids.

Post-Fitting Support: You’ll receive instructions on how to use and maintain your new hearing aids, as well as information on any wireless connectivity and features. After the initial fitting, additional adjustments can be made to ensure optimal hearing.

Hearing Aids in Glendora, CA

When contemplating an upgrade to your hearing aids, consider it a valuable investment in your quality of life. New technologies in hearing aid design offer enhanced connectivity, allowing for more seamless interaction with personal electronic devices. This includes cell phones, televisions, and audio systems, often facilitated through Bluetooth technology.

Your hearing aids are more than devices; they are integral to your daily interactions and overall well-being. An upgrade should be timely and reflect both current technological advancements and your evolving hearing requirements.

Written by
Reviewed by
Dr. Kevin H. Ivory
Audiologist & University Instructor
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Dr. Kevin Ivory, Au.D., CCC-A received his Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) Degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He then went on to earn his Doctor of Audiology degree from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, one of the top 10 audiology residential programs in the country.

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