Technology changes fast: in 2005, the typical 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you over $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our notice. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and less expensive, but we’re blind to the innovations in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and massive store displays.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have progressed significantly 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 compact 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids better, starting with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have become, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding flexibility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The result is a product that is small, lightweight, energy-efficient, and proficient at manipulating information—information being, in the instance of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do contemporary hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: picture inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately 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 essential and sent to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” function. Incoming sound is delivered all at once—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 becomes lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work hard to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital handling of information is the key to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the advanced features associated with modern hearing aids that digital technology makes 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 identify and inhibit.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies the signal from your phone, leading to 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 straight 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 have seen, digital hearing aids are formidable pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why virtually all cases 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 hearing aid trial period.