Technology improves quickly: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen television would have cost you over $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has taken place with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and cheaper, 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 past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the bulky 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern digital hearing aids are like the lightweight 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids considerably better, beginning with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have evolved into, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming versatility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The outcome is a device that is compact, light-weight, energy efficient, and proficient at manipulating information—information being, in the example of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do contemporary 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 collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and subsequently delivered to the appropriate recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be tagged as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound was delivered all at once—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 tirelessly to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital handling of information is the key element 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 helps make possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can distinguish and boost 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 amplifies the signal from your phone, producing clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids with Bluetooth technology can link 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 effortlessly and discreetly adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you can see, digital hearing aids are formidable pieces of modern day technology. That’s why almost all instances of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why the majority of people are satisfied 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.