Danny W. Gnewikow, PhD, FAAA
Audiologist, CCC
Founder & Chief Audiologist

 

Danville, VA
(434) 799-6288

Lynchburg, VA
(434) 528-4245

What's New?

Overview

Just as digital imaging has now replaced the phonograph record, audiotape, and the movie camera for duplication of sound and pictures, digital processing of sound has revolutionized improvements in sound clarity and improved word recognition with hearing aids. Currently, hearing aid sound processors (computer chips), programmed by audiologists with probe-mic technology, continually adjust the output of the hearing aid to the needs of the hearing aid user and to the environment.

Hearing aid technology is improving constantly. Low distortion amplification of sound using today's hearing aids is significantly improved compared to hearing aid technology of only 5 years ago.

Wireless Solution for One-Sided Deafness

With the recent advent of micro-wireless technology, the patient with one deaf ear is now able to hear from the deaf side by transmitting sound to the hearing ear by means of a "CROS" hearing aid.  This is accomplished with the use of a miniature inconspicuous transmitter that lays behind the ear in the same way as a micro hearing aid.

In the past, patients with one-sided deafness had to wear larger wired devices which proved too cumbersome for practical use.  This new CROS device is practically invisible.

Programmability

Due to the wide range of hearing disorders, different acoustic characteristics are required for each hearing impaired individual.

Digital processing and probe-mic measures of the individual's ear canal allow our audiologists to program such parameters as: gain, output, frequency response, compression characteristics, and multiple microphone configurations in order to more accurately fit difficult hearing losses.  Automatic volume controls can eliminate the need for user volume adjustment.

Our audiologists program each hearing aid based not only on the patient's audiogram and probe-mic measurements but also his/her everyday listening environment and the patient's ability to adjust to newly re-introduced sounds.

 

As hearing changes over the years (usually gradually) the hearing instruments can simply be reprogrammed to compensate for the patient's changing hearing loss at no further charge.

Bluetooth Connectivity

For hearing aids with the Bluetooth feature, we can connect your hearing aids to your cellphone (allowing you to drive handsfree), your television, certain bluetooth-enabled landline telephones, and many other digital devices.  For medical personnel, there are even bluetooth-enabled stethoscopes that we can pair with your hearing aids.

Bluetooth Connectivity to your hearing aids avoids fighting over the volume on the TV.  Connectivity to your cellphone allows both handsfree and binaural (stereo) telephone reception as the phone signal is heard through the hearing aids in both ears. The sound from these external devices is directed straight into your hearing aids.

Automatic Volume Control - Ease of Use or Choice of Volume Adjustment

Although digital processing features and programs are truly technological marvels, they require extensive training and expertise on the part of the audiologist to achieve the optimal program fitting. The end result to the hearing aid user is often a hearing aid with little to no manual adjustments of the hearing aids and a more comfortable overall sound quality in different listening environments.

For those who want to regulate volume, the aids are equipped with a digital volume control that can enhance the automatic settings.

This type of automation is particularly important to individuals with other physical limitations, such as poor dexterity or poor sense of touch in their fingertips.

Multi-Program Hearing Aids

Hearing aids feature more than one program.  This feature allows the audiologist to program your hearing aids for the different environments you are in, such as:

  • Soft-spoken or loud talkers
  • Noisy environments (i.e. restaurants, parties) 
  • Orchestra concerts
  • Listening in the car
  • Childrens or higher pitched voices
  • Telephone use

Remote Control of Hearing Aids

Remote controls for hearing aids allow the hearing aid wearer to change the programs as explained above in different listening situations without reaching up to touch the hearing aid.

Especially helpful for:

Professionals who want to inconspicuously maintain their speech understanding in difficult listening situations.

Patients with physical limitations or dexterity problems.

Hearing Aid Synchronization

If the automatic volume adjustments are not sufficient for difficult listening situations, manual adjustments for volume and various programs can be synchronized to enable the patient to adjust one aid while the aid on the opposite side will adjust automatically.

Noise Reduction Processing

The discomfort and interference of unwanted background noise is a common complaint of most hearing impaired individuals. Although digital hearing aids do not totally eliminate background noise (nor does the normal ear), the digital hearing aid utilizes advanced sound logic algorithms to differentiate between modulating frequencies and intensities of speech and certain types of competing background noise.

The resulting reduction of background noise provides superior comfort for those difficult listening situations. This processing is performed quickly and automatically.

Multiple Microphones

Our clinics prefer to use digital instruments with multiple microphone technology to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio. Amplifying the speech coming from in front of the patient, while reducing the noise originating from behind the patient results in improved word understanding when in the presence of competing noise in places such as restaurants, crowds, and social situations.

Hearing aids with multi-microphone programming functions can be set to pick up sounds from different directions (i.e. right, left, rear, front) using a beam-forming concept.  This technology would allow a parent or grandparent to hear children in the back seat louder than other car noises when driving. 

The programming versatility of hearing aids today, with the combination of multiple microphones and programs, allows the audiologist to customize your hearing aids for your lifestyle and your special needs.

Speech Enhancement Technology

A person with hearing impairment in the high frequencies often "mis-hears" many consonant sounds. Digital hearing aids now incorporate sophisticated algorithms and multiple channels to boost acoustic energy for the enhancement of consonant sounds, further clarifying the speech signal. Without consonant amplification, the hearing impaired person will often confuse similar words such as: "ball", "fall", and "call". This technology is designed to improve consonant perception.

Patients often say: "I can hear, but I just can’t understand the words." Hearing losses that primarily affect high frequencies often reduce speech comprehension and clarity.

In short, digital programmablity allows for different amplification at different frequencies, depending on your hearing loss.

Digital Feedback Reduction


The feedback reduction circuit on today's hearing aids, in conjunction with a proper fit, avoids the embarassment of unnecessary high-pitched squeal by automatically correcting feedback when it is detected.

Frequency Compression and Transposition

This feature allows the shifting of speech sounds in the very high frequencies to a lower frequency range for patients who have lost most of their high frequency hearing.  This transposition can result in improved word discrimination. 

Open-Fit Hearing Aids (practically invisible)


With the use of very thin micro-tubing or miniature receivers, mild to moderate hearing losses can now be open-fit (without stopping up the ear canal)  while at the same time making the hearing aid almost invisible. This approach also eliminates a "barrel/echo" effect of ones own voice often experienced with conventional fittings that tend to block the ear canal.



Behind-the-Ear Open Fit (BTE)

Almost invisible, most comfortable, and
appropriate for a wide range of hearing loss