You no longer have to reach up to your hearing aids to press a button, flip a switch, or turn a wheel in order to make an adjustment. Instead, you can discreetly make a few taps on a cell phone. Other people won’t be able to tell that you’re changing your hearing aid settings unless they view your smart phone screen. It will look like you’re checking your email or the weather report.
Depending on the manufacturer, hearing aid apps provide several functions:
You will still need to visit your hearing care professional in the office for the initial programming and major adjustments to your hearing aids. The hearing care professional uses their expertise to set the hearing aids to match your hearing loss and lifestyle. Apps allow you to make minor adjustments from these settings within a range. The range is set to ensure that you will not inadvertently hurt your hearing.
All the major hearing aid manufacturers offer apps for smart phones. Compatibility depends on the hearing aid make and style as well as the cell phone model. Consult with your hearing care professional for more details.
There are many apps available that claim to test your hearing. However, these tests do not match the precision of professional hearing exams. Your hearing care professional provides tests with calibrated equipment and ensures that the headphones sit properly in your ears. Professional hearing tests are given in quiet environments that meet standards for the maximum noise present in different frequency bands. Your hearing care professional also performs a visual inspection of your ear canal and eardrums to make sure that you don’t have a medical problem.
Some hearing aid manufacturers include tinnitus maskers within their hearing aid apps. In addition, there are stand-alone tinnitus masking apps. These apps help patients block out their tinnitus with pleasant sounds. You can choose among white noise, rainforest, and ocean sounds. Some apps offer educational content to help you learn to manage your tinnitus. Your hearing care professional can advise you on how to best use these apps.
A third kind of app that you can find are auditory training apps. These apps work as part of a hearing rehabilitation program to retrain your brain to hear better in challenging situations. You want to schedule several short practice sessions on these apps over a period of time. Think of auditory training as being similar to physical therapy. It takes time for your “auditory muscles” to get stronger.
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