Technology changes fast: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen TV would’ve cost you over $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for less than $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our awareness. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and cheaper, but we’re blind to the developments in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and massive store displays.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, together 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, today’s digital hearing aids are like the lightweight 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids better, beginning with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have become, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding flexibility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The result is a gadget that is small, lightweight, energy-efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the case of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do contemporary hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: think of inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is obtained, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and consequently 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 example, can be identified as important and delivered to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be tagged as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have 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 sort through the clutter yourself to locate 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 handling of information is the primary factor to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are some of the state-of-the-art features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology makes possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can distinguish 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, leading to 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 directly to your hearing aids.
- Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be controlled with smartphones and digital watches, so you can easily and discreetly adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are formidable pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why almost all cases of hearing loss can now be successfully treated, and why the majority of people are satisfied with the overall performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to check out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our trial period.