Google recently announced a new feature for Android smartphones called Sound Notifications.

The feature is the latest of the several advancements technology companies have introduced to help people with hearing loss.

First, I applaud Google and other Big Tech companies for innovations like Sound Notifications that support people with hearing loss.

Also, I wanted to take this opportunity to provide our patients and the community with a quick overview of technological innovations that benefit people with hearing loss.

Technological Advancements Can Increase Safety

Sound Notifications for Android uses push notifications, phone vibrations, or flashing the phone’s camera light to alert users their smartphone’s microphone has detected one of ten sounds.

Most of the noises Sound Notifications make users aware of can have an impact on safety.

Examples of the sounds this feature can identify include:

  • Smoke and fire alarms
  • A baby’s cry
  • Water running
  • A knock at the door
  • Beeping appliances
  • Barking dogs

My advice for people with hearing loss is they should also invest in safety devices designed for their needs.

For instance, smoke detectors for hearing impaired individuals flash high-intensity strobe lights to indicate there could be a fire.

A bed shaker or a pillow shaker that activates when a smoke alarm sounds also can be helpful.

Innovations Have Made Life Easier for Hearing Aid Users

Many hearing aids are designed to connect wirelessly with smartphones, televisions, tablets, and other devices.

Users can stream audio from a smartphone or another compatible device directly to their hearing aids. This advancement has improved the quality of life for countless individuals with hearing loss.

Here are a few of the numerous ways that connecting hearing aids to smartphones and other devices make life more convenient for people with impaired hearing.

Instead of struggling during telephone calls, users hear the caller’s voice via their hearing aids.

They can listen to a compatible television without having to turn the volume to a level that’s uncomfortable for other people in the room. People who weren’t able to enjoy music can stream it to the hearing aids.

Apps and Artificial Intelligence Improve Communication

You may be wondering how someone would connect their hearing aids to a smartphone.

The answer is through an app. Every major hearing aid manufacturer has at least one app that allows wearers to connect their hearing aids to a smartphone.

While each app’s sophistication varies among manufacturers, at a minimum, these apps allow wearers to control their hearing aid settings with their smartphones.

For example, a user who has trouble hearing or understanding a conversation can adjust features such as volume, noise reduction, or directionality to improve the communication experience.

Certain hearing aids are equipped with artificial intelligence (AI).

How AI improves the hearing aid user experience varies by hearing aid brand.

In some cases, AI makes instant adjustments based on the user’s environment.

For instance, if you were wearing such a hearing aid at a cocktail party, AI would adjust the settings on your hearing device to lower background noise and focus on the voices of people speaking directly to you.

Certain AI-equipped hearing aids use a combination of wearer input and cloud data to calculate hearing aid settings to suggest to the wearer.

For further information about how to link up your hearing aids to your smartphone, contact our team!

If you would like to set up a no-contact consultation with one of our friendly audiologists, fill out the form on this page, and we will get back to you with a confirmation of your virtual appointment.

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Dr. Jan Liles

Dr. Liles earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Montevallo and her master’s degree from the University of Alabama. From 1991 to 2001, she worked with two ENT medical practices and initiated one of the first newborn hearing screening programs in the state. In 2002, she was awarded a doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Liles and her longtime best friend, Dr. Sheehy, founded Alabama Hearing Associates in January 2002.
    Basic Hearing Test

    A basic hearing test begins with an air conduction test. You will be seated in a soundproof booth and single-use, foam earphones will be inserted into your ear canals. The Audiologist will ask you to push a button or raise your hand when you barely hear a series of beeps (tones) presented at various frequencies (pitches) to obtain your air conduction thresholds.

    To determine whether your hearing loss is a conductive (mechanical) loss, sensorineural (permanent) loss or combination of the two, we perform a bone conduction test.  

    For this test, a head band is place on the bone behind one of the ears to obtain your bone conduction thresholds. This process provides a different form of sound transmission using vibration, which bypasses the eardrum and the middle ear bones and directly stimulates the auditory nerve. When you hear the beeps/tones, you will push a button or raise your hand.

    If bone conduction thresholds are better than air conduction thresholds (through the foam inserts), you have a conductive hearing loss. This suggests a problem with the mechanical structures (moving parts) of the ears.

    Conductive hearing loss is often a medically treatable condition for which we will provide you with a referral to an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) physician. However, if bone and air conduction thresholds match, it indicates a sensorineural hearing loss (permanent), and the treatment will likely involve hearing aids.

    ALL INCLUSIVE PLAN

    $6,790

    Comprehensive 5-Year treatment plan with premium technology

    If you want premium “out of this world” technology and the highest level of service and expert support, our All-Inclusive treatment plan is the right investment for you.

    The All-Inclusive treatment plan offers long-term value for your on-the-go lifestyle, providing everything you need to connect with family and friends for years to come.

    Includes:

    • Stellar hearing devices from top manufacturer (rechargeable option available)

    • Wireless accessory included at no charge

    • Comprehensive Annual Visit including hearing assessment, hearing device adjustment, and 19-Point preventative maintenance valutaion

    • Bi-annual hearing aid software update and reprogramming

    • Same day diagnosis and in-office repair during weekdays for devices dropped off before 3:00 p.m.

    • 5-Year full-service repair warranty

    • Unlimited remote hearing aid adjustments

    • 100% moisture removal by Redux and cleaning

    • Hearing aid supplies (stock receivers, batteries, domes and filters)

    • $1000 contribution towards purchase of upgraded technology within 48 months

    • 3-Year replacement warranty for loss or damage (no deductible)

    • Dedicated team of hearing care experts at your service

    • Unlimited teleaudiology appointments

    • Access to our “speed of light” repair specialists

    Schedule Appointment

    Choose Your Level of Technology

    A Comprehensive12-Step Functional Hearing Assessment

    If you struggle to understand conversations in social situations, restaurants, or other noisy environments, you do not need to schedule a basic hearing test. You certainly don’t need to schedule a “free” hearing screening or online hearing test.

    You need to schedule a “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment at Alabama Hearing Associates!

    Hearing Technology with a Methodical Plan

    Our community understands better than most what can be achieved when you combine technology with human intelligence and persistence. It is much the same with hearing technology.

    The latest hearing aid technology is incredibly powerful, offering stellar sound quality and performance. Wireless connections allow phone calls, music and television to stream directly to your hearing aids for exceptional clarity.

    But hearing aids do not fit and program themselves! For best outcomes, you also need the human touch and expertise provided by our Doctors of Audiology.

    How do I know my new hearing aids are working properly?

    Without verifying that the hearing aid is working correctly from the start, all of the other steps in the hearing aid fitting process are useless. The most sensitive quality control measure is something called Electroacoustic Analysis. We complete EAA on every new set of hearing aids, before delivery of repaired devices, and on an annual basis.

    What Is Real-Ear Measurement?

    Real-ear measurement (REM) is how an audiologist knows that hearing aids are working the way they should in each patient’s ears.

    Ears are as unique as a fingerprint. Because of this, every ear will collect sounds differently.

    Even if I had two patients with the exact same hearing loss and hearing aids, there’s almost no chance the hearing aids would be programmed the same way.

    Orientation, Counseling, and Follow-up

    Dr. Cliff (the creator of the Best Practice Pro Network) said it best:

    “Having a detailed orientation can dramatically improve how much success you have with hearing treatment.  Counseling & Follow-up care can also ensure that you have success for years to come.  Regular visits to a hearing care provider who spends the time to discuss treatment related information and who will maintain your devices is extremely important.”

    During the orientation, your provider will give you the tools you need to be a successful hearing aid user. Everyone has different learning styles and we want to make sure whatever works best for you is what’s used. After the 75 day adjustment period, routine checkups are necessary to maintain the hearing aids and to ensure optimal hearing healthcare. 

    Real World Adjustments

    Your hearing loss didn't occur overnight, so it will take some time to adjust to the hearing aids. Your patience and persistence will be well worth it.

    Wireless Connections

    Most hearing aids automatically come with wireless streaming from smartphones and it has been a lifesaver for those that are working remotely and spending hours on teleconferences. As for other wireless accessories, the two most popular solutions are a small microphone used in less-than-ideal listening environments and a TV streamer that streams the TV’s sound directly into your ears—which can be a lifesaver when watching British TV shows or during football season. If your audiologist believes they would be beneficial for you, they will discuss your options and demonstrate the device in the office.

    Assessing Outcomes

    To ensure the most success with your hearing devices, we measure the benefits of amplification at the end of your adjustment period—some of the surveys and tests included in the “Connect 365” Functional Hearing Assessment will be repeated to evaluate progress, quality of life, and patient satisfaction with the hearing aids.