Technology changes fast: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen TV would’ve cost you over $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can find a 40-inch flat screen TV for around $230.
The same has taken place with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our awareness. We take note that TVs become larger, better, and more economical, but we’re blind to the innovations in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and massive store exhibits.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have progressed substantially over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern day 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, starting with the technology that makes it all achievable.
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 programming flexibility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The result is a device that is small, 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: visualize inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and consequently delivered to the correct recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be tagged as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” function. 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 becomes lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work tirelessly to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital control of information is the key element to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the state-of-the-art features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology helps make possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can recognize 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 inhibit.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology enhances the signal from your phone, leading to clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids 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 operated with smartphones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and subtly adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are robust pieces of modern day technology. That’s why nearly all instances of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why the majority of people are pleased with the performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to check out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and ask about our trial period.