Austar hearing founded in 2003, as a national high-tech enterprise, Austar has been dedicating to improve the hearing of hearing-impaired people through the advanced technology. Our business covers hearing aids, hearing devices and Audiology-related equipments.


Loud Or LOUD

Loud Or LOUD

‘Speak up please…..ok, there’s no need to shout!’
If you have a relative or acquaintance with hearing loss, you may have heard those words before…or perhaps you’ve had to say them yourself?

Most people understand ‘hearing loss’ to mean that more volume is required in order to hear. However it is not only about adding more volume; many people with hearing loss perceive loud sounds in a similar way to normal hearing individuals; and may even be more sensitive at certain frequencies or pitches.

The ability to manage the range of incoming sound volume is referred to within the world of psycho-acoustics as a person’s ‘dynamic range’. Psycho-acoustics is the study of how sound is perceived; and is central to developing products designed to help with hearing loss such as hearing aids. So, in other words, dynamic range is the range of hearing between hearing threshold (i.e. just audible) and uncomfortable listening levels.

Being able to process different volumes is controlled by the cochlea, which is a part of our inner ear. This is a non-linear organ, in that it handles sounds with lower intensities differently to sounds with higher intensities. Within the cochlea, tiny hair cells pick up various aspects of the incoming ‘wave’ of stimulation. Hearing loss occurs when these hair cells are damaged. If this happens, we often see a reduced dynamic range which indicates that the ear’s ability to process loudness is impaired.

For the normal hearing ear:

10dBHL is ‘I can only just hear it’ ; 100dB HL is ‘very very loud!’
Therefore the dynamic range is 90dB.

For the ear with sensorineural hearing loss:

60dBHL is ‘I can only just hear it’ ; but 100dBHL is ‘very very loud!’
The dynamic range is 40dB.

Hearing aids can not (yet!?) replace a normally functioning cochlea however they try to imitate the function of the hair cells, particularly when it comes to restoring normal loudness growth. For a hearing aid to do this well means that a hearing aid wearer should perceive soft sounds as soft, medium sounds should be comfortable and loud sounds should sound loud, regardless of their dynamic range. Digital hearing aids therefore aim to provide what is referred to as non-linear amplification so that low-intensity inputs are given more increased volume more than high-intensity inputs.

Hearing Knowledge2021-02-25

What Does Hearing Aid Compatible Mean

What Does 'Hearing Aid Compatible' Mean?

We list some Assistive Listening Devices or ‘ALDs’ on our website as being ‘hearing aid compatible'. But what is the meaning of 'hearing aid compatible'?

What Does 'Hearing Aid Compatible' Mean?
Assistive Listening Device is the industry term used to describe any product which provides extra amplification for specific environments – such as hearing better on the phone or making sure someone is alerted to their doorbell ringing. When we list a device as hearing aid compatible it means that it can link into the telecoil or loop setting of any hearing aid.

For example, on a phone such as the Clarity P300 Amplified Photo Phone, it would mean that a hearing aid wearer can listen to the person speaking via their telecoil or ‘T’ setting. You will only need to switch your hearing aid to the T position. The phone is usually automatically set to transmit to the loop within the hearing aid so you don't need to do anything on the phone.

The important thing to note is that ‘hearing aid compatible’ in the context of ALDs doesn’t imply that all ALDs will be ok to use with all hearing aids. It specifically refers to the use of a telecoil setting.

Is there any advantage to using a ‘T’ setting?
Amplified products obviously are louder, but some people find it difficult to use a phone with a hearing aid. Especially if it whistles when the phone is near to the hearing aid. Switching the hearing aid to the ‘T’ position disables the hearing aid’s microphone. This prevents any chance of feedback or whistling. Bear in mind that a telecoil option is not supplied as standard on every hearing aid, so please do check this if the ‘hearing aid compatible’ feature is of interest.

For more information read our blog post on "Making the most of your Telecoil Settings"

About Hearing Direct
We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. Hearing Direct offers a wide range of affordable products, as well as information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing. We sell:

* Hearing aids,
Hearing Aid Accessories such as earplugs,

and amplified devices such as super loud alarm clocks and amplified phones.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2021-02-24

Used Hearing Aids Should You Would You

Used Hearing Aids - Should You, Would You?

In more recent times, especially during a difficult financial period, second hand goods have become an increasingly popular choice for a large number of people. They offer the chance to buy an otherwise expensive item at a discounted price. If the item has been well maintained and kept in good condition; this can often be a very sensible alternative to buying new. 

On the other hand however, there are items, which are always better to buy new, such as hearing aids. There are some very good reasons why people should restrain from buying used hearing aids. Here are just a few: Warranty New hearing aids, like most electronic devices, come with a full manufacturer warranty. 

If anything goes wrong during the warranty period, you can benefit from the many advantages of this service in accordance to its terms and conditions – professional advice and help, free repair of manufacturing defects, etc. No return policy Few used hearing aids vendors offer a return policy. Therefore, if you buy a second hand hearing aid privately and you are not happy with the device, you will have to keep it, even if it turns out not be the best option for you. 

On the other hand, reputable hearing aid sellers often offer 30 days return policy, which means that if you change your mind during the period, you can simply return it and get your money back. Outdated technology Hearing aid technology is constantly evolving and improving in order to provide a truly exceptional level of service to the hearing impaired. Devices are becoming better, lighter and offer more features than ever. If you purchase an old device, you may be limiting your hearing improvement due to outdated technology and also depriving yourself of the possibility to enjoy a richer, fuller sound. Damaged hearing aids When you buy a second hand device, you have to rely on the seller’s personal assurance that it is in a good condition and all of its functionalities can be used to their fullest potential. 

You also have no evidence that the previous owner has maintained the device in a proper fashion. Custom made hearing aids It is possible to end up buying a device, which was specifically made to individually fit its previous owner’s ear and this important detail may not be fully shared. It is also likely that these devices have been custom programmed to suit a very individual hearing loss and as such may provide too little or too great a volume. 

Potential diseases We would recommend properly sterilizing or replacing ear molds of used hearing aids, as they may have traces of fungus or bacteria from the previous user. However, if you are determined to buy a second hand hearing aid, there are different ways to do this. At first, we recommend to consult an audiologist, as they may advise you on what to look for and how to make the best choice. Hearing aid forums are another great option to exchange opinions with other users. They also may have a section, where subscribers offer their old devices at a discounted price. Many people sell second hand hearing aids on popular platforms, such as eBay, etc. In any case, always make such a purchase with caution and consideration and after a thorough research.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2021-02-24

An Idiot Abroad or how I got frustrated with restrictive hearing aid sales

An Idiot Abroad or how I got frustrated with restrictive hearing aid sales

Last week Joan and I flew to Hanover in Germany to attend the biggest Audiology trade show in Europe, so my Blog has an international traveller feel to its title. OK, so I stole it from the Ricky Gervais TV show currently on SKY but as ever with the Blog and all communication I always like to start by pointing out that this contribution is from the unqualified compared to Joan’s highly professional opinion.

The 4 a.m. start was a bit of a shocker. The 344 bus from Battersea Park Road to Liverpool Street Station was surprisingly busy. The Stansted Express was depressingly grotty – terrible first impression for people arriving in UK. German Wings was crash free but that’s the limit to the positives from their service. The only pleasant part of the journey was the taxi from Hanover Airport but this had an unpleasant sting of €50 – ouch! International travel is far from glamorous.

We went to the audiology show to see the latest innovations from the manufacturers and to ensure that we keep abreast with technology. There has been such a marked improvement since I joined the industry in the mid-nineties and we can now provide brilliant solutions to really improve the lives of people that suffer from hearing loss. So my expectation was high.

While there were undoubtedly some great hearing aids and hearing aids accessories being displayed with these shows there is always one star product that captures the spirit of the industry. This year was a hearing aid that can only be fitted by specially trained sellers. It stays in your ear for four months at a time, after which you have to go back and have it changed. There will only be 25 centres in the whole of the UK. You have to be careful and manage your life to ensure it doesn’t get damaged – no diving in the swimming pool etc. I do not know the price yet but as each seller will have to pay around £10,000 for the privilege of being an approved centre I expect that it will be ferociously expensive, and this is part of my problem.

I love an analogy and on this occasion I will use the mobile phone industry. Early phones used to be the size of a brick, cost the earth, have limited functionality and were really only the remit of the well-heeled businessman. Nowadays mobile phone can do everything except cook your breakfast, are so cheap that they often come free as part of a user package and universally used. Hearing aids used to be large, with limited functionality and expensive. On the high street they are now small, have great technology but unlike progress in the phone world are still very expensive! The reason behind the price that the industry will quote is lack of volume. Well my argument is that while they bring out their latest technology and make it available through limited outlets at an eye watering price then we will never achieve “volume”.

Our philosophy has always been to provide an alternative to the prices of the high street retailers. We sell good technology at great prices. A hearing aid that has to be specially fitted and changed every four months, does not fit with our self-help, try it at home offering. I hope that through our approach to value for money we will help more customers achieve a very satisfying outcome than all those 25 centres put together.

The RNID quote that there are 4 million people in the UK who could benefit from hearing aids. If those 4 million people wished to access this latest technology, each of the approved sellers would have to deal with 160,000 customers. It is not going to happen. Let’s develop good technology and be brave enough to provide it to everyone at affordable prices because there are 4 million people whose lives could be vastly improved.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2021-02-23

When Is A Hearing Aid Good Enough?

When Is A Hearing Aid Good Enough?

"When Is A Hearing Aid Good Enough?" is a question I get asked a lot.

When we originally set up one of the questions that was often asked of us and still is today, is how can your hearing aids be any good if they are so cheap? It is a difficult question as the industry has always rated how “good” a hearing aid is by its feature set. How many channels it has, how many bands, what kind of processing, what kind of algorithms, how many programmes etc., etc., all of which mean very little to the customer.

How good a hearing aid is surely measured by how satisfied a user is with it. Our hearing aids have very many good features and do compare very favourably with those available on the high street but rather than revert into a feature-set war that means little or nothing to users we had to come up with an analogy that could be easily grasped. Sure our hearing aids do not have Bluetooth connectivity so will not link up to your iPhone but is that what the customer wants and is a hearing aid that isn’t Bluetooth enabled, therefore no good?

If someone wished to buy a car to use everyday for everyday tasks, would they be better off with a Ferrari or a Ford? We know that if they bought a Ferrari they would be financially worse off but what about everyday use? For some, a hearing aid is the difference between hearing and not hearing. For others, who may have been using hearing aids for a long time, they may wish to find aids that offer greater compatibility with their lifestyle - the iphone use or the need for bluetooth connectivity.

We know you can buy an expensive hearing aid in your local high street. And you may find that if you pop into the shop you will be steered towards a more advanced hearing aid.

Our argument is that most people would be very happy and very well served by a standard hearing aid at a cost-effective price. Our hearing aids may not yet have Bluetooth but if you want to hear more clearly and improve your ability to communicate with the world around you, they can do a terrific job at a fabulous price.

Now everyone wants choice so we don’t just sell basic hearing aids, there is a selection of hearing aids available to suit most pockets and to suit most requirements. You can chose which hearing aid is right for you without any pressure.

At Hearing Direct we believe in giving you the best choice, and the best price which is why we have such a wide range of hearing aids including our own cost effective range. We also include a 30 day money back guarantee. If you are not happy with your choice, then send it back within 30 days and we'll refund you. Did I mention we also offer free shipping on many orders? Click here to check out our range of cost effective hearing aids and our growing range of hearing aid accessories.

Hearing Aid Knowledge2021-02-23