There are lots of different features discussed when you read about hearing aids.
Lets look at one of these features in this post – “AUTOMATIC Adaptive DIRECTIONAL MICROPHONE”
Many of today’s hearing aids, will automatically switch between omnidirectional and directional modes without input from the wearer. This change occurs depending on how the hearing aids interpret the acoustic environment you are in i.e. how noisy the background is, if someone is speaking close by or you are walking down a street. Some hearing aids are able to detect up to 5 different environmental situations and automatically change how the microphones work so you can live well with hearing loss in each situation.
Omnidirectional: In this mode all surrounding sounds are given equal weighting. The user will be aware of sounds arising from all directions. This mode may be preferable when the wearer is in a quiet listening environment and natural spatial perception is ideally required.
Directional: In directional mode incoming sounds from in front are given greater amplification than sounds from the sides and rear as illustrated in the picture.
Typically in noisy situations we face the person we want to hear so this feature becomes relevant when there is background noise. Directional microphones have been clinically proven to help improve speech understanding in these situations, provided the person talking is reasonably close to the listener.
The illustration shows the hearing aid in a directional microphone mode. When your hearing aids automatically switches to directional mode you give preferential amplification to your conversational partner, if they are in the purple zone in front and diminished amplification to the peripheral and background noise sources.
All information is provided in the interests of Hearing Health education and is of a general nature. In all cases you should consult your doctor or other allied health professional for advice regarding your individual circumstances.