Technology evolves rapidly: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen TV would’ve cost you over $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can find a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our notice. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and less expensive, but we’re blind to the innovations 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 substantially over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the bulky 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern 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 evolved into, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming versatility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The outcome is a gadget that is compact, lightweight, energy efficient, and proficient at manipulating information—information being, in the instance of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do contemporary 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 eventually delivered to the appropriate recipients. In the same 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 essential and delivered to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be tagged as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” function. Incoming sound was delivered all at the same time—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 control of information is the key to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the advanced features associated with modern 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 recognize and suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology enhances the signal from your phone, producing clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids with Bluetooth technology can link 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 smartphones and digital watches, so you can easily and inconspicuously adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you can see, digital hearing aids are formidable pieces of modern day technology. That’s why nearly all cases of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why most 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 ask about our trial period.