Living with hearing loss during the holiday season can be particularly challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the conversations you do wish to participate in can be stressful. And because most large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be virtually impossible to concentrate on any one person or dialogue.
If you wish to participate in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking all at once around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blaring in the background. This creates an impossible scenario that can make you feel isolated and left out.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or remaining quiet, what are your options?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the trouble 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 person you were speaking with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, modern hearing aids have two features that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Older analog hearing aid models were in fact very simple gadgets. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.
The difficulty was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between voices and background sound. The amplifier made every sound louder, so unless you were in a tranquil environment, you had a tough time hearing voices.
Since holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you actually need is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is precisely what modern digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, besides containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also contain a digital processor. That means sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can use to differentiate between various types of sounds.
By identifying and marking different kinds of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with selected attributes, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily identified and repressed.
In combination with restraining background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.
Speech has a unique trait in that it is composed chiefly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between conversation and background noise, which is predominantly low frequency.
On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are called directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in targeted directions, like the direction of the person you’re conversing with.
Reserve Your Hearing Test and Make the Most Of the Holidays Again
Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll show you how to select among the extraordinary digital hearing aid technology on the market. After that, with your new hearing aids—equipped with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll be able 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.