Technology changes quickly: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you more than $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can find a 40-inch flat screen TV for around $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our notice. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and more affordable, but we’re blind to the enhancements in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and massive store displays.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have improved drastically over the last 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the bulky 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 significantly better, beginning with the technology that makes it all achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have come to be, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming flexibility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The consequence is a gadget that is small, light-weight, energy efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the instance of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern-day hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: think of inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately delivered to the appropriate recipients. In the same way, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be identified as essential and sent to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” feature. Incoming sound is 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 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 handling of information is the key to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are some of the advanced features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology makes possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can recognize 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, resulting in clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids equipped 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 operated with smart phones and digital watches, so you can easily and subtly adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are impressive pieces of modern technology. That’s why virtually all instances of hearing loss can now be efficiently treated, and why most people are satisfied with the performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to test out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our hearing aid trial period.