Technology evolves quickly: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen television would have cost you more than $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for less than $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our awareness. We notice that TVs become bigger, better, and less costly, but we’re blind to the enhancements in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and massive store exhibits.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have advanced significantly 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 considerably better, starting with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have emerged as, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming flexibility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The consequence is a device that is small, lightweight, 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 obtained, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and consequently delivered to the appropriate recipients. In the same manner, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be labeled as important and delivered to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound was delivered all at the same time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sift through the clutter yourself to find 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 manipulation of information is the magic formula to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are a few of the state-of-the-art features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology makes 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 recognize and suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies 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 straight to your hearing aids.
- Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be operated with smartphones and digital watches, so you can easily and inconspicuously adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are powerful pieces of modern day technology. That’s why almost all cases of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why most people are pleased with the performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to try out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our trial period.