Technology changes rapidly: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you more than $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our attention. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and less expensive, but we’re blind to the advances in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store exhibits.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have improved significantly over the last 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the bulky 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, today’s digital hearing aids are like the compact 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 benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have come to be, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming versatility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The result is a gadget 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-day 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 appropriate recipients. In the same 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 identified as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound is delivered all at once—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sort through the clutter yourself to locate your own. Speech simply becomes 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 key to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the advanced features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology helps make possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can recognize and boost 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 amplifies the signal from your phone, resulting in clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids with Bluetooth technology can connect to devices wirelessly, so you can stream music, phone calls, and TV programs directly to your hearing aids.
- Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be operated with smart phones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and inconspicuously adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are robust pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why nearly all cases of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why the majority of people are pleased with the performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to check out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and ask about our hearing aid trial period.