One need look no further than digital hearing aids to see the future. The capability of these devices is unparalleled, thanks to the implementation of wireless technology and microelectronics. Now, these devices have the increased capacity to control factors like distracting background noise and allow users to connect to other devices that are operated via Bluetooth. Additional advantages include omnidirectional microphones which can pick up on sound originating from many directions. For fewer than two decades, digital hearing aids have been offered to the hearing impaired community, with the added ability to be programmed according to user preference and specific degrees of hearing loss. Analog hearing aids came directly before digital hearing aids. It’s been about 200 years since the first attempts at personal sound amplification, with the introduction of ear trumpets in the early 1800s. Now, digital hearing aids are the popular option, featuring remote controls that allow for the control of your own settings.
Hearing clearly takes work. Background noises can hinder this, which is why today’s digital hearing aids can filtrate all that noise to make way for clearer speech. Better speech recognition and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) are both hallmarks of digital hearing aids that can actually communicate with each other. Now manufacturers can insert special chips within digital magnetic wireless communication to control anything from switch position to microphone modes.
Using a self-regulating method, these “smart” hearing aids can adjust settings like volume automatically after a period of time to give control back to the user. Self-learning technology is perfect for hearing aids so that the user doesn’t have to adjust the settings each time he puts them on.
Digital Noise Reduction (DNR)
Fortunately, digital noise reduction DNR technology addresses the physical characteristics of noise and speech rather than the separation of space. DNR came about after directional microphones, which helped but didn’t address certain traits within speech modulation.
Single Sided Deafness
CROS devices and bone conduction devices pave the way for the hearing aid wearer to receive signals from the bad ear and send them to the good ear for ease of use. Before, people suffering from single-sided deafness only had one option before: listen with their good ear. This became increasingly difficult in crowds and other situations with lots of background noise.
More far-reaching range of frequency is just one benefit of digital hearing aids. There are other advantages, too, such as digital noise reduction, higher frequency transposition and even connections to Bluetooth.
The First Digital Hearing Aids
Digital signal processing (DNP) allows for better hearing capacity and range of amplification. The hearing impaired community first was treated to the introduction of digital hearing aids in 1996, thanks to DSP. As a result, users could benefit from faster processing speeds. This paved the way for better hearing capacity and range of amplification.
This state of the art digital approach to hearing loss has a lot of promise, making up about 90 percent of all hearing aids manufactured today. Progressing in the future, you can no doubt expect more and more hearing aids to be comprised of digital technology.