Holiday Hearing

Struggling with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially challenging.

While you may actually prefer to NOT hear a few of your relatives, the conversations you do want to engage in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be near impossible to focus on any one person or dialogue.

In order to engage in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This produces an impossible situation that can make you feel isolated and left out.

Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or staying silent, what are your choices?

It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the issue was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the person you were speaking to.

But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, the latest hearing aids have two features that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.

Background noise suppression

Older analog hearing aid models were in fact very simple gadgets. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was picked up by the microphone, amplified, and distributed through the speaker to the ear.

The difficulty was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background sound. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a quiet setting, you had a hard time hearing voices.

Because holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you actually need is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is exactly what modern digital hearing aids can accomplish.

Digital hearing aids, on top of containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also incorporate a digital processor. That means sound can be converted into digital information that the hearing aid can utilize to distinguish between various kinds of sounds.

By distinguishing and designating different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with specific characteristics, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily recognized and silenced.

Speech focus

In addition to restraining background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and concentrate on speech.

Speech has a exclusive attribute in that it is composed primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to distinguish between speech and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.

On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are called directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in specific directions, such as the direction of the person you’re conversing with.

Schedule Your Hearing Test and Make the Most Of the Holidays Again

Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?

Call us today and we’ll show you how to select among the extraordinary digital hearing aid technology available to you. Then, with your new hearing aids—equipped with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll have the ability to hear all of the conversations with comfort and clarity.

As for the relatives you don’t want to hear? Not to worry, the hearing aids also come equipped with an off button.