Technology changes fast: in 2006, the average 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you more than $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for less than $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We take note that TVs become larger, better, and less expensive, but we’re blind to the advancements in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and massive store displays.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have advanced considerably over the last 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the bulky 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern digital hearing aids are like the light 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 achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have come to be, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding versatility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The result is a gadget that is small, lightweight, energy efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the case 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 ultimately delivered to the appropriate recipients. In the same way, 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 delivered to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” feature. 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 becomes lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work hard to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital manipulation of information is the key 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 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 enhances the signal from your phone, producing 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 easily and subtly adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are impressive pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why almost all instances of hearing loss can now be successfully treated, and why most people are pleased with the overall performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to test drive this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our hearing aid trial period.