Technology improves quickly: in 2005, the typical 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you over $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for around $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We take note that TVs become larger, better, and more affordable, but we’re blind to the improvements 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 considerably over the last 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 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 significantly better, beginning with the technology that makes it all achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have emerged as, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming flexibility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The result is a gadget that is compact, light-weight, energy-efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the example of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: envision inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and eventually delivered to the appropriate recipients. In the same manner, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label specific 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 tagged as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound was delivered all at one time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sift 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 adjustment of information is the key element to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are a few of the state-of-the-art features associated with modern 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 identify and suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies the signal from your phone, resulting in 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 efficiently 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 hearing aid trial period.