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What you need to know about hearing aid technology Questions & Answers with an expert: Brady Ness, AuD, Audiologist When should someone consider being tested for hearing aids? When a person starts to notice hearing concerns or issues with communication, it’s time to schedule an appointment with an audiologist. This includes anyone who frequently asks “Huh” or “What,” needs others to repeat themselves or gradually starts turning the television louder. The most common indicator is when everyone around the individual seemingly is mumbling. It is important to schedule a hearing examination with an audiologist when subtle little signs such as these begin to occur. What kind of hearing aid options are available? Hearing aid technology continues to improve significantly. Bluetooth compatible hearing aids are an option that make life a lot easier. These devices have been around for the past couple of years and continue to improve and have become quite common. With these hearing aids, wearers can: • Adjust the hearing aid volume and sound from an app on their smartphone • Answer phone calls without placing the phone to the ear • Turn off background noise to more easily hear conversations in noisy or crowded areas • Use their smartphone as a wireless microphone by placing the phone in front of the television or person For those who do not want or need Bluetooth compatible hearing aids, there are numerous traditional hearing aids on the market that have advanced drastically from previous generations. Are hearing aids as visible as they used to be? Most hearing aids are slimmer and less noticeable today than hearing aids in the past. While cosmetics is a concern for some, improving a person’s hearing is first and foremost. At what age do people begin considering getting hearing aids? In the past, hearing aids were considered a device used by older populations. However, as technology continues to advance and younger generations are willing to try these newer technologies, more younger people are being seen by audiologists every day. If a person is experiencing hearing loss at any age, it’s important to set up a hearing examination with an audiologist to determine if hearing aids are an option. Why invest in hearing aids? Hearing aids allow people to stay involved, connected and in touch with family and friends. When someone cannot hear, he or she starts missing out on everyday life, whether at home, at work or recreationally. It is common for someone with hearing problems to pull away, not want to attend events or be involved in activities. For example, he or she may not want to go to a ballgame because he or she cannot hear or the noise at a restaurant can be too loud for him or her to understand a conversation. Hearing aids can help to correct these issues, allowing the wearer to get back to doing the things he or she loves. Brady Ness, AuD, Audiologist Brady Ness, AuD, is an audiologist with Sanford Health Hearing Center in Bismarck. He has master’s degrees in communication disorders and audiology from Minot State University and a doctorate in audiology from the University of Florida. Dr. Ness specializes in hearing conservation, hearing testing, hearing aid fitting and neurodiagnostics, and educational audiology. He is president of the North Dakota Academy of Audiology and past president of the State Audiology and Speech Pathology Board.