Technology improves fast: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you more than $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has taken place with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and more economical, but we’re blind to the improvements in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and massive store exhibits.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have advanced considerably over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the bulky 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern day digital hearing aids are like the light 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids significantly better, beginning with the technology that makes it all achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have come to be, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming flexibility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The result is a device that is small, light-weight, energy efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the case of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: visualize inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and subsequently delivered to the correct recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be labeled as important and delivered to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” function. Incoming sound is delivered all at one time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sort through the clutter yourself to find your own. Speech simply gets lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work tirelessly to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital handling of information is the secret to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are a few of the advanced features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology helps make possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can recognize and enhance speech with digital processing and directional microphones.
- Background noise suppression – background noise is a lower frequency sound, which the hearing aid can identify and suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology enhances the signal from your phone, resulting in clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth technology can link to devices wirelessly, so you can stream music, phone calls, and TV programs straight to your hearing aids.
- Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be controlled with smart phones and digital watches, so you can easily and discreetly adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are formidable pieces of modern day technology. That’s why virtually all cases of hearing loss can now be successfully treated, and why the majority of people are satisfied with the performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to try out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our trial period.