11 Things That Have Changed About Hearing Aids In The Last 5 Years

Time To Read: 10 minutes

  • Better sound quality
  • Better performance in noise
  • More connected
  • More convenience
  • Smaller
  • Rechargeables all around
  • More water resistant
  • More automatic
  • Tinnitus masking built in
  • Smarter
  • Better comfort

Hearing aids, like everything else, are advancing in leaps and bounds. This is helped along by the fact that a hearing aid is basically a computer dedicated to processing sound. Some modern hearing aids can process sound at over a billion operations per second!

All this power is dedicated to cleaning up sound in a way that makes it easier for people, like yourself, to hear despite hearing loss.

Below are the biggest changes you can expect from new hearing aids if your hearing aids are more than 4 or 5 years old:

1. Better sound quality

Sound quality has improved dramatically over the last 4 years, delivering better sounding music reproduction as well as better pick up of soft speech and less distortion in loud environments. These improvements are noticeable and delivers more confidence in your hearing ability.

This has all been made possible by the new hearing aid computers being able to process more sound than before. So less compromises need to be made to fit all the sounds of life into the hearing aid’s processing.

With this improvement you will be able to better enjoy the nuances of your favourite music. By being able to hear the soft speech, you can also hear those whispers or distant speech without having to ask for as many repeats.

2. Better performance in noise

noisy cafe

It can be difficult to hear in noisy environments like cafes

The faster hearing aid processing speed means there are more complex features dedicated to cleaning up speech in noisy environments.  This has led to marked improvements in hearing with background noise. Accessories such as Phonak’s new RogerSelect also help improve hearing in noise by picking up speech from multiple directions and then wirelessly transmitting that to your hearing aids.

NOTE: Hearing speech in noise is still very much dependent on your ability to process speech in noise. So we always recommend a speech-in-noise test to match the best hearing aid to your hearing ability.

Correctly selected, new hearing aids should provide you with a noticeable improvement when you find yourself in noisy situations.


3. More connected

Connectivity of hearing aids to mobile phones has been around for several years. This tended to require neck worn loops and other “jewellery” to make it all work. These worked, but were cumbersome and fragile at best.

Many of today’s hearing aids have the ability to connect directly to your mobile phone (particularly iPhone, although Android options are starting to appear) for wireless phone calls and music streaming using Bluetooth. You may also have the option of downloading a phone app, that will allow control of your hearing aid via the phone.

So, say hello to exceptional mobile phone sound quality via your hearing aids.

4. More convenience

The connectivity mentioned above also brings with it additional convenience. Several hearing aid manufacturers have available or are soon releasing the ability to have your hearing aids professionally fine tuned via the internet. All it takes is for you to submit an issue via the hearing aid app on your phone. Your clinician can then send you a fix for the issue via the “cloud” without always requiring a visit to the audiologist.

5. Smaller

Signia Nx

The Signia Nx

Improvements in technology has also brought us smaller hearing aids. Not only ‘in the ear’ models like the SoundLens Synergy or the Signia Silk Nx, but also on ‘over the ear’ models. Even more powerful hearing aids have been shrunk. Read more about the different types of hearing aids.

So now you can wear your hearing aids more discretely and with more confidence.

6. Rechargeables all around

Many manufacturers have introduced rechargeable models (over the ear models only). There are two main kinds as described in this article, but the advantages remain the same:

More convenience with less fiddly battery replacements, while potentially being better for the environment.

Cellion Rechargeable hearing aids

Read our dedicated article on rechargeable hearing aids in 2018.

7. More water resistant

Advances in technology has not only been focussed on the computer that runs the hearing aid, but there have also been several improvements in the materials used to build the hearing aid housings.

As moisture has traditionally been one of the biggest killers of hearing aids, most modern devices have improved reliability and durability due to these recent advances.

8. More automatic

Faster computer chips mean more can be done in the same amount of time. Advances have also been made in how hearing aids analyse the environments you find yourself in. By analysing the sound environment several times a second, modern hearing aids can more accurately determine the correct settings for that particular environment.

This means less fiddling is required on your part to ensure you are hearing as well as possible. This also helps in making the handling of the hearing aid much better than on older generations.  Learn more about how hearing aids work.

9. Tinnitus masking built in

The brain’s lymbic system plays a major part in tinnitus annoyance

Lymbic system in the brain and TinnitusMany people with hearing loss suffer from tinnitus. In the past we did not have many options apart from the volume of the hearing aid itself to try and offer some tinnitus relief.

Almost all modern hearing aids have tinnitus masking abilities built in. This means that you can choose when you want to introduce a masking signal to take the edge off your tinnitus. This is especially helpful in quiet environments, where tinnitus tends to be most annoying. Having a sense of control is of great emotional benefit when it comes to tinnitus management.

NOTE: Tinnitus masking on its own does not resolve tinnitus. You need to combine it with expert guidance to help you understand your tinnitus.

10. Smarter

With more computing power and storage memory, combined with a connection to the internet via your smartphone, comes almost unlimited potential. Some manufacturers are using all this power and combining it with machine learning to help your hearing aid learn how to work better for you. This is done by anonymously collecting information on environments and usage patterns from thousands of users globally. This information is then analysed using machine learning to create updates to your hearing aids, that makes them continuously improving over time.

11. Better comfort

Hearing aid wearerImprovements in technology has not been restricted to the hearing aids, but has also been applied to how the hearing aids fit in your ears. Things like laser scanning of ears and ear impressions as well as improvements in 3D mould printing and acoustic design mean that hearing aids today tend to be more comfortable for all day use than ever before. This means they are less likely to end up in the drawer. 

Find out today how modern hearing aids can help you improve your quality of life, confidence and hearing ability.

Book an appointment to speak to one of our skilled clinicians to see if we can help you upgrade your existing hearing aid. View our locations to find the clinic closest to you. We have access to all of the largest hearing aid brands with the best technologies so we can help you hear better by pinpointing the best modern solution for your needs.

If you've been shopping around for hearing aids and are perhaps feeling overwhelmed with the amount of options out there, then you may like to read our comprehensive Hearing Aid Buyers Guide eBook. It's packed full of useful information and advice to make sure the hearing aids you choose will work well for you now and into the future, without costing a fortune.