All About Hearing Aids
We offer a large range of the latest digital hearing aids from all the leading manufacturers to give you the widest possible choice of prices and styles to suit your individual needs, whatever your hearing loss and individual requirements.
Instruments have a varying number of channels each covering a different range of frequencies. The channels affect how finely the hearing aids can be tuned to individual levels of hearing loss. The more channels the aid has, the more finely tuned it can be and the better speech can be preserved in a noisy environment. Most of the top range instruments will have between 15 and 20 channels, the medium range between 8 and 12 channels and the economy range between 4 and 6 channels.
Manufacturers use a variety of terminology to describe the different features of their hearing aids, but in general terms they include:
Automatic/manual programme options
Many hearing aids operate automatically and will recognise and adjust to several different environments to optimise hearing speech and make hearing more comfortable, whether you are in a quiet or noisy situation. For many people, the automatic or ‘universal’ programme is all they need. However, if required, other programmes can be added to provide a different sound or setting for specific situations, such as theatre, TV, etc.
Most instruments will have several different strategies for reducing unwanted background noise to make it easier to focus on the important sounds you want to hear, i.e. speech, and generally to make hearing more comfortable in noise.
There are some very sophisticated noise reduction systems used today but the exact method will vary according to the different manufacturers. Even most economy instruments will incorporate some level of automatic noise reduction.
Directional (twin) microphones help if you are in a noisy situation by focusing on the speaker who is usually in front of you, and reducing noise coming from behind you. Adaptive directional microphones are even more flexible so the hearing aids will evaluate the environment and adapt automatically to focus on the area from which speech is coming.
Some aids may also have some form of zoom control to ‘zoom in’ even more accurately on a specific direction, be it in front, to either side or even behind you (useful in the car). Impact of sudden loud sounds, like chinking glasses, clatter of dishes, dog barking, etc., can also be reduced on some models.
There are now some very effective management systems that significantly reduce the likelihood of the aids producing the annoying whistling noise which used to be associated with some of the older or non-digital instruments.
If you wear two hearing aids, wireless technology enables the aids to ‘talk’ to each other, so that if one changes the other one follows suit. They synchronise so that volume and programme settings are always balanced. They also operate in tandem so if, for example, you manually alter the volume or programme on one hearing aid, the other will change to match simultaneously.
There is a range of automatic and manual options to help with telephone use, including the conventional Telecoil. With wireless instruments it is possible to have a system where the sound is transferred directly into the hearing aid or aids, improving intelligibility.
Other options include:
Wind noise reduction, echo reduction, manual volume control, telecoil, rechargeable batteries.
Types of hearing aids
There are several different styles of hearing aids, not to mention the multiple design and colour options. Each hearing instrument is designed and fitted to each person’s hearing needs.
These can be worn on glasses, or a band, and are an option for people with perforated ear drums which weep. These are now being replaced by bone anchored hearing aids which means a referral for an operation.
Many people will experience a ringing or rushing in their head, if only momentarily. It is only when the 'noise' dominates a person's life that something needs to be done. Many people suffering from tinnitus also have some degree of hearing loss. Tinnitus maskers are built into a small, simple BTE and can help to distract the brain from the 'noise' - be it a brass band or a whistling kettle.
These may be recommended where a one sided hearing loss presents in order to provide all round hearing again. They are also now available as a wireless system.
Accessories for hearing aids
Some hearing aids are rechargeable, so there is no need to worry about changing batteries in the middle of a meeting, or during dinner with friends. The instruments are simply placed into the charger overnight and are ready to go all day. Some chargers even offer an electronic drying function which removes any moisture whilst the instruments are charging.
Remote controls are an optional extra on many models. They may just change volume and programmes, or can be Bluetooth compatible for use with various accessories. Some of the advanced ones can also be used to make changes to the tonal quality of the hearing aids to help with speech in noise or to enhance the quality of music.
Bluetooth will connect your hearing aids wirelessly to audio devices like TV, mobile phone, iPods, etc. by means of a small transmitter, which is connected to the sound source (e.g. TV), and which transfers the sound directly into your hearing aid(s) via a receiver or a Bluetooth compatible remote control.
Our clients love their hearing aids:
I have been very satisfied with Mr Mackay and now using his daughter Lorna, I have always had excellent service. I can well recommend them.Judge Lewisohn Cobham
Lorna was very helpful and super patient and did everything she could to find my perfect hearing aid. She also came to me in London to make it an easier process for me.Miss L Stokes Aged 23
I have used Alex Mackay Hearing Services for 18 years and have been very pleased with their personal service ensuring the patient gets exactly what they need to improve their hearing. This has incurred many visits to my home over the years with no hassle. The product I have now is excellent and the battery ordering is very easy and fast. I have no hesitation in recommending Alex Mackay Hearing Services.Carol Biggin Hill
Lorna, very happy to say that I am extremely pleased with my hearing aids and also with the excellent service from you, having the app on my phone is so useful to adjust the volume etc is an added bonus.John Kenley