Coping with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially difficult.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear a few of your relatives, the conversations you do want to indulge in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be near impossible to concentrate on any one person or dialogue.
If you wish to participate in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This produces an impossible scenario that can make you feel detached and left out.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or remaining silent, what are your options?
Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the issue was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the people you were talking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern hearing aids have two functions that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Earlier analog hearing aid models were essentially very simple devices. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and sent through the speaker to the ear.
The challenge was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you had a hard time hearing voices.
Since holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you necessarily need is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is precisely what modern digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, on top of containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also feature a digital processor. As a result, sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to differentiate between various kinds of sounds.
By differentiating and tagging different kinds of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with certain characteristics, including all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily identified and silenced.
In addition to suppressing background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and concentrate on speech.
Speech has a unique property in that it is composed principally of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between conversation and background noise, which is mostly 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 focus the microphones in targeted directions, like the direction of the person you’re speaking to.
Book Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again
Are you ready to recover your holiday season?
Contact us today and we’ll help you choose among the extraordinary digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, with your new hearing aids—complete with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll have the ability 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.