Technology changes rapidly: in 2006, the average 40-inch flat screen television would have cost you in excess of $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can find a 40-inch flat screen TV for around $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our awareness. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and less expensive, but we’re blind to the progress in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store displays.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have advanced dramatically over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 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, starting with the technology that makes it all achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have come to be, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding flexibility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The consequence is a device that is small, light-weight, energy-efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the example of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: picture inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately delivered to the correct recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be labeled as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be tagged as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound is delivered all at one time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sift through the clutter yourself to find your own. Speech simply gets lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work hard to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital manipulation of information is the secret to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the state-of-the-art 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 inhibit.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology enhances the signal from your phone, producing clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth technology can connect 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 operated with smartphones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and subtly adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you can see, digital hearing aids are robust pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why nearly all instances of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why most people are satisfied with the overall 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 hearing aid trial period.