Coping with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially difficult.
While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the discussions you do wish to take part in can be stressful. And because most large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be nearly impossible to concentrate on any one person or dialogue.
In order to participate in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blaring in the background. This creates an impossible scenario that can make you feel isolated and excluded.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or staying quiet, what are your options?
Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. The older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the problem was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the people you were speaking with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern-day hearing aids have two features that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Older analog hearing aid models were in fact very straightforward gadgets. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.
The problem was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between voices and background sound. The amplifier made every sound louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you experienced a difficult time hearing voices.
Since holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you actually require is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is precisely what modern digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, besides containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also include a digital processor. As a result, sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can use to distinguish between various types of sounds.
By identifying and labeling different kinds of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with certain characteristics, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be easily recognized and suppressed.
In combination with suppressing background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.
Speech has a distinct trait in that it is composed chiefly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to distinguish between speaking and background noise, which is principally low frequency.
On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are called directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted directions, like the direction of the person you’re speaking to.
Book Your Hearing Test and Enjoy the Holidays Again
Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll help you select among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, with your new hearing aids—outfitted with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll be able to hear all of the conversations with comfort and clarity.
As for the relatives you don’t want to hear? Not to worry, the hearing aids also come equipped with an off button.