Audiologists play a major role in selecting the hearing aid based on the hearing loss of the individual. One of the most common concerns of the patients while procuring a hearing aid is concerning the ability to understand speech with the hearing aid, especially in noisy situations. Although the earlier hearing aid versions were capable of providing amplification for the sounds, they were not efficient in improving speech clarity generally. However, due to the recent advancements in the field of hearing aids, the current generation of hearing aids ensures that the hearing-impaired individual has a good speech understanding.
Current hearing aids are capable of having multiple programming options which can be set precisely for each type of environment. The listening requirement while communicating through the phone is not the same as that during a party. Therefore, the parameters are set accordingly in the hearing aid thereby ensuring good speech understanding in various types of environments.
Another feature that has been developed would be noise reduction technology. This feature when activated will suppress all the unwanted background sounds while maintaining focus on the speech of the speaker. This ensures better clarity of speech and thereby, better understanding.
Directing the microphone in a particular direction is also a recent advancement in the field. The feature called directional microphone picks up sound only from particular directions and is usually focused on the front direction to have a better one-to-one conversation. This ensures that all the unwanted sounds from the sides and behind are attenuated while the speech from the front is heard uninterrupted by the listener. Some hearing aids also have automatic directionality options which get adapted to the situation and select directions according to the types of sound present in the environment.
In addition, there are technologies such as wind noise reduction, speech enhancement, etc. which help to maintain good speech perception while the unwanted sounds from the background are eliminated automatically. These technologies ensure good speech understanding in the listener while using hearing aids.