Dealing with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be particularly challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your relatives, the discussions you do want to engage in can be stressful. And because most large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to concentrate on any one person or dialogue.
In order to engage in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blaring in the background. This produces an impossible scenario that can make you feel detached and excluded.
Short of making everyone repeat themselves or staying silent, what are your options?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the problem was that they also amplified everything else, most notably background noise. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the people you were conversing with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, contemporary hearing aids have two functions that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background Noise Suppression
Older analog hearing aid models were in fact very straightforward devices. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was collected by the microphone, amplified, and transported through the speaker to the ear.
The issue was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between voices and background sound. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a quiet environment, you experienced a frustrating 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 exactly what modern digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, combined with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also contain a digital processor. As a result, sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can utilize to differentiate between various types of sounds.
By identifying and designating different kinds of sounds, modern 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 conveniently recognized and suppressed.
In combination with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also identify and concentrate on speech.
Speech has a unique feature in that it is composed principally of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to differentiate between speech and background noise, which is predominantly low frequency.
What’s more, digital hearing aids have what are referred to as directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted directions, such as the direction of the person you’re speaking to.
Reserve Your Hearing Test and Make the Most Of the Holidays Again
Are you ready to get back your holiday season?
Contact us today and we’ll show you how to choose among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. After that, with your new hearing aids—outfitted 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.