Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Future Fit of Hearing Technology

Laser show

With all the advances in hearing aid technology, it would seem that more features and connectivity would top the list of things to shout about. Though these things are noteworthy there's another, quieter future for hearing aids. It turns out, the future of hearing aids is all about the fit.

As this earlier PHB article on hearing aids points out, "Getting the right fit for your hearing aid is essential for optimal hearing and comfort." And it's true. Hearing aid fit is one of the trickier aspects of providing better hearing for people with hearing loss. There have been a number of advancements in the art of hearing aid fitting over the years and even specialized computer software. But even with this software, hearing aids often require a few adjustments before they meet an individual’s precise needs.

Some patients will find their hearing aids fit "well enough" and won't bother to return to an audiologist for another fitting. This can mean hearing aids slip and are a bit of a hassle. As Gaal Hannan of Hearing Health Matters points out, she spends two minutes a day, cumulatively, "Pushing hearing aids back in when they sometimes slide out of the ear canal a bit."

Though this isn't a huge time waster, it can be a bit of a nuisance. And one that might now have a solution that involves lasers. A new company United Sciences have invented a way to allow lasers to measure the interior of the ear in order to provide an exact fit for hearing protection and hearing aids. Putting a laser in your ear might sound like a bad idea, but this isn't the first we've heard of using lasers in hearing technology. In fact, as this earlier article on PHB states, "hearing aids that use laser diode technology are safe, have been approved by the FDA, and could be available for use as early as 2016."

So the age of lasers has arrived for hearing technology, but what makes this particular advancement so exciting is the ability of these lasers to measure and fine tune the fit of hearing aids to the precise shape of an individual's ear. As United Sciences notes, "The vast majority of today’s in-ear products are currently manufactured as “universal-fit” devices—sometimes with limited personalization/sizing capability. However, because the shape of every human ear is different, many in-ear products suffer from issues with fit, attenuation, comfort—or all three."

This new laser fit advancement is quickly moving into the marketplace and an audiologist office near you. So don't be alarmed if your audiologist or hearing health professionals ask you to put a laser in your ear. And so you're not afraid of the technology when asked, below is a video that shows what to expect from this process.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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