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Hearing solutions as unique as you are

Posted on April 26, 2023
Middle-aged Couple, examining map, while hiking in the woods

So many things about you are unique. Your voice, your fingerprints, your likes and dislikes. And your ears. Your ears are different than anyone else’s so you need hearing healthcare and hearing solutions as unique as you are.

Custom fit hearing aids

Some hearing aids are designed to be custom fit. To accomplish this, a mold is made of your ear canal to ensure the fit and comfort match the shape of your ear canal. An additional bonus of custom fit is your hearing aids are less likely to fall out and get lost. The shape, length and width of your ear canal is unique to you and comfort is increased by a custom fit.

So many colours

Hearing aids come in a variety of colours you can match to your hair colour, your skin tone or make a statement with a colour that says something about you.

Pick your hearing aid style

Hearing aids come in a variety of styles although not all are able to support every level of hearing loss. Every year, the styles are getting smaller and smaller as technology gets smarter and smarter. So much so some are now considered invisible or nearly invisible.

Wellness trackers

Research has shown even moderate activity can improve the quality of your overall health. And in some cases reduce the speed of deterioriation of age-related hearing loss. Even the simple things such as going for a walk or wandering in your garden can improve your physical and mental wellness. So many people are madly tracking their steps, their activity level and more with watches and phone apps.

Would you believe wrist-based fitness trackers have been found to be largely unreliable in accurately tracking energy expenditure from heart rate and step counts? The Stanford Division of Cardiovascular Medicine investigated commonly used wrist-based fitness trackers with pretty poor results.

Because your wrist is full of muscles and tendons that move, the effectiveness of wrist-worn fitness trackers is impacted. How much it’s impacted changes based on the body structure of each person. Your ear on the other hand is all cartilage and just about the most motionless part of your body. It’s also pretty dark in there and your arteries are near the surface of the skin. With your fitness tracker in your ear, the signal is about 100 times clearer than on your wrist.

Even MIT got into reviewing the usefulness of fitness trackers in your ears. They’ve said, “If you’re going to choose a place to measure physical signals . . . two places are far and away the best: the ear and the rear.”

What if you could wrap all the tracking into your hearing aids?

Signia’s My WellBeing app works with their AX (Augmented Xperience) products to monitor four key aspects of your health: your steps, the amount of social interaction you get, your activity level and how much you wear your hearing aids. You can set daily, weekly and monthly goals for each. What a great way to give yourself motivation in so many areas of healthy living. All user data is only stored and visible in the Signia app.

The built-in motion sensors in the Signa AX products make this all possible. Due to the strategic, ear-worn position of the motion sensor, the step counter has been shown to be better than wrist-worn trackers and smartphones.

The Starkey Evolv AI was the first to introduce wellness tracking and also includes fall alerts and calendar notifications. Through their Thrive app, you can record your activity and engagement levels each day. Activity includes steps, exercise and standing. Engagement includes use, engagement and environment. Engagement measures the time you spend in environments with conversational speech and Environment records when your hearing aids are adapting to challenging listening environments. So the more places you wear them each day, the more Environment you score. In the Thrive app, Wellness is a combination of Activity and Engagement.

Hearing aids with fall alerts and detection

We’ve all heard stories of people falling down and getting seriously injured. Since your ears are where your balance is managed, it makes sense that someone came up with fall alert and detection features for hearing aids.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found even people with a mild hearing loss were at a three-fold risk of having a history of falling. For every additional 10 decibels of hearing loss, a person’s risk of a fall increases another 1.4 times. These findings remained accurate even when accounting for other factors linked with falling including age, sex, race, cardiovascular disease and vestibular function.

The researchers have suggested possible explanations for the increased risk of falls being associated with hearing loss. They present the idea that those who can’t hear well might not have good awareness of their overall environment which makes tripping and falling more likely. Another notion put forward by the researchers is people with hearing loss experience an increased cognitive load leading the brain to be overwhelmed and overloaded on its limited resources. Gait and balance actually require a lot of brain activity so with hearing loss, there may be fewer cognitive resources to help with maintaining balance and gait.

For those with age-related hearing loss, the risk of serious injury during a fall increases as well. Broken bones and head injuries are the most common injuries for seniors who’ve experienced a fall. Frailty and osteoporosis in both men and women who’ve seen a lot of years compound the risks when they fall.

Enter Starkey’s Evolv AI hearing aids. With built-in 3D sensors, Evolv AI hearing aids can detect when a wearer falls and send alert messages to selected friends or family members that include the GPS coordinates of the person wearing the hearing aids. What a great safety feature when you have loved ones living alone.

Translate 27 languages?

If you’re a traveler, this one might be the answer you’ve been looking for in a hearing aid that matches your lifestyle.

In addition to the fall alert and wellness tracking, the Evolv AI also translates languages as you hear them! Using the Translate feature on Starkey’s Thrive app, when a person speaks near your phone, the app will translate their speech, display it in your language on the phone and also stream the translated text to your hearing aids in your language. What a great feature for people who love to visit new places!

It’s your choice

When you’re shopping for hearing aids, your hearing instrument specialist should be learning about your lifestyle so they can tell you all the brands, products and features that support and complement your look and lifestyle. Shop at an independent hearing health clinic, like Hear Well Be Well, so you get access to all makes and models available in Canada, not just the ones manufactured by the company that owns the clinic.

Schedule a free hearing test at Hear Well Be Well.