Nearly two-thirds of Americans with hearing loss are under the age of 65.

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The world has been getting louder and louder over the past several decades, from the noise of growing cities to the pumped-up tunes streaming through your ear buds. There are 30 million Americans who have a hearing loss, and 65 percent of them are under the age of 65.

“Many people resist getting a hearing aid because they picture the clunky, noisy amplifier that their grandfather or father complained about wearing,” says Patty Petermann, AuD, President of Puget Sound Hearing Aid & Audiology. “But the technology has vastly improved the experience of wearing a hearing aid. They’re digital so the sound is better and they are about the size of a dime.”

Not your grandfather’s hearing aid

According to Petermann, every generation of hearing aid technology gets better and better. Today’s digital hearing aids offer a variety of features to ease communication, even in noisy environments where there are multiple speakers you need to focus on.

Traditional hearing aids isolate one speaker and suppress all others. Advances in technology during the past several decades allow for listening to multiple speakers, even in noisy environments. Instead of using two channels to separate sound for processing, a hearing aid with advanced technology may have upwards of 32 channels. This splits the signal into even smaller frequency bands and therefore offers a higher resolution of signal processing.

Feedback, a whistling or buzzing, used to be a tremendous issue with hearing aids. That’s no longer the case. Feedback-management systems that utilize advanced technology reduce or eliminate irritating noise without affecting overall amplification of the hearing aid.

Additionally, current hearing aids can detect different types of noise from speech babble, to car noise, to wind noise, and effectively reduce these while keeping the integrity of the speech signal. “You want some awareness of the world around you, but you don’t want it to be overwhelming like it used to be,” Petermann says. “Hearing aids are now capable of filtering out the noise that’s not important.”

Smart hearing aids with Bluetooth connectivity

Thanks to Bluetooth technology, it’s easier than ever to participate in all of the activities you enjoy doing and connect with the world around you. Bluetooth compatibility allows for streaming sound channeled through your phone to both ears – hands free. You can stream sound from any source – iPod, iPad, laptop computer, TV.

“The technology makes it possible for friends and families of the person with hearing loss to enjoy spending time together more,” Petermann says. “If everyone’s watching TV, for example, the volume can remain at a normal level. Meanwhile, the person with hearing loss gets the sound streamed to both ears, at the higher level they need.”

There are a growing number of made-for-smartphone hearing apps (iPhone and Android) that enable customized hearing settings. Simply program in your hearing aid setting preferences for office meetings, noisy restaurants, movie theaters and other entertainment venues. The menu of personalized preferences is saved and available with a quick swipe and tap of your phone screen. So, you can adjust the sound level to your needs, easily and inconspicuously, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

Hearing aids to fit your active lifestyle

A growing number of people of all ages are requiring hearing aids that fit their active lifestyle. Not only are more people needing hearing aids at a younger age, but a wide variety of studies link living longer and healthier to keeping busy and physically fit.

“Today’s hearing aids make it easier than ever to stay active,” says Petermann. “There’s technology to reduce wind noise for bikers and golfers, water-resistant options for swimmers and kayakers – the possibilities of what technology can offer are endless.”

Come in and try new hearing aid technology, 30 days risk free, at one of Puget Sound Hearing Aid & Audiology’s 13 convenient locations.