When Joe Perri first started in the hearing aid business some 45 years ago, any type of technology for hearing aids was basically non-existent. The extent of adjusting hearing aids was “a couple of screws you could turn,” he says. Now, things have changed dramatically within the hearing aid industry, and with Perri. A hearing consultant and Miracle-Ear franchisee, he owns hearing centers in Sandusky, Mansfield, Bucyrus, Norwalk and Tiffin, Ohio. In order to stay up with the rapid advancements within the digitalization of hearing aid technology, Perri began bringing a laptop to his hearing center in order to help program patients’ hearing aids. “We’ve come so far in the last ten years it’s incredible,” he says.
The technological advancements of hearing aids have helped them last longer as well. “Most hearing aids will last, in this day and age, at least five years or longer because of the programmable digital,” says Perri.
A huge advancement for Miracle-Ear and their hearing aid technology has been the implementation of Open Canal hearing aids. Open Canal technology allows all of the modern components of the patient’s hearing aid to be hidden both over the ear and deep inside the ear canal. In addition to being virtually invisible, Open Canal devices have several acoustic advantages, such as the elimination of the plugged feeling many patients experience with hearing aids, as well as elimination of squealing or feedback.
Miniaturization of hearing aids has also improved drastically over the last five to ten years; according to Miracle-Ear, the size of the circuits of the aids are much smaller than hearing aids of the past. There has been such an improvement in the size of hearing aids that some of the smallest ones are seemingly unnoticeable to others.
Hearing aids can also be fit instantly now. In the past, the hearing consultant would have had to send the patient’s ear measurements through the mail to the hearing aid manufacturer and wait for the manufacturer to send back the device. Now, the measurements can be emailed and the manufacturer will receive them right away, which will decrease a lot of the time the patient spends waiting for their hearing aids.
Custom programming is another technological advancement that has improved the hearing aid industry. The hearing aid can be programmed based on the patient’s level of hearing loss and their listening and communication needs. For example, if a patient works as a bus driver, they can have their hearing aid programmed in order to focus more on the noises behind them rather than the noises in front of them, helping them perform their job to the best of their ability.
All of these technological advancements have not only improved the industry, but improved overall patient satisfaction as well.