Technology is a term that is used frequently every day. There really is not a facet of our daily lives that is not touched by some form of technology. It can be as simple as developing a basic hand tool to accomplish a goal, or it can also represent the processes and machines developed to quench humankind’s desire to explore space. But in the end, the goal of technology is to make life easier for everyone.
When we discuss technology in audiology, it is not very hard to see how far we have come. When I graduated with my master’s degree in 1998, hearing aid technology was dominated by trim pots and little green screwdrivers. While we all strived for great sound quality and ease of use for our patients, we settled for difficult-to-open battery doors and patients not feeling like their ‘head was in a barrel’. Most of our counseling time revolved around teaching a patient how to manage their hearing aid and ‘getting used’ to the sound quality.
Technology has now given us rechargeable batteries, connectivity and the ability, as a clinician, to change the conversation from ‘hollowness’ and ‘feedback’ to uncovering and addressing a patient’s true listening needs — even if that includes hearing a conversation during a wedding reception with a live band.
The advancement of hearing aid technology
For our patients, technology has certainly improved their ability to hear and interface with the world around them in ways that most could have never imagined. Rechargeability and connectivity to Bluetooth® and other accessories have really changed the game for everyone. No longer does someone have to struggle to pick up and insert a small battery or struggle to hear on a mobile phone.
Technology has removed several of these challenging barriers. With Phonak Paradise, we have taken the next big step in the idea of utilizing technology to make life easier for the hearing impaired with Speech Enhancer, Dynamic Noise Cancellation, Motion Sensor Hearing and Tap Control.
- Hearing the softest speech sounds
Hearing in quiet has often been the gold standard for hearing impaired listeners when evaluating hearing aid performance. Speech Enhancer allows the Phonak Paradise hearing aid to enhance speech while in a quiet setting. This improves the patient’s ability to hear even the softest of individuals with increased understanding.
- Giving the patient more control
Just like we all have different preferences and tastes when it comes to our morning coffee, Dynamic Noise Cancellation gives control to the patient, via the myPhonak app, to achieve a personalized level of noise cancellation in the most challenging settings. With the simple slide of a finger, a patient can decide how much noise cancellation is needed.
- ‘All around’ hearing capabilities
Modern hearing aids have been designed to enable directional microphones to help reduce other noises; however, they are not always the most practical solution. When out for an evening walk, or even some holiday power shopping, it is not always easy to turn your head to face a person speaking to you without risking an embarrassing fall or getting knocked down by an errant bicyclist. For individuals with hearing loss, this situation is even worse.
Motion Sensor Hearing uses the same technology as the motion sensor in smartphones, to detect when a person is walking, and then adjusts the Dynamic Noise cancellation settings and directional microphones accordingly. This allows the patient to hear ’all around’ themselves, while still facing forward. When they stop walking, the hearing aid reverts back to the same highly effective Phonak directional microphone technology you and your patients love.
- Access with just a tap
Finally, there is Tap Control. Tap Control also uses the motion sensor to allow patients to answer and end calls, pause music & television, and access their smartphone’s personal digital assistant. No more fumbling to find the tiny button on the top of the hearing aid or digging through a purse to find the phone when an important call comes through. A quick ’tap’ ’tap’ of the ear makes the magic happen.
As a final testament to the idea of technology making life easier for everyone, Tap Control gives ease of use to those with manual dexterity challenges, such as arthritis and peripheral neuropathy. Solutions for these challenges, prior to this technology, were imperfect at best.
Technology has become integral in our daily lives, and for your patients, by utilizing technology to make life easier, they will be able to live their life to its fullest.
To learn more about the Paradise platform, I invite you to our product webpages.