Technology evolves quickly: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you over $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We take note that TVs become larger, 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.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have progressed considerably over the last 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 light 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids better, beginning with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have evolved into, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding flexibility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The result is a device that is small, lightweight, energy efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the case of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern-day hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: imagine inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is obtained, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately delivered to the correct recipients. Similarly, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be labeled as essential and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound was 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 locate 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 adjustment of information is the key to everything a modern hearing aid can do. 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 inhibit.
- 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 link 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 discreetly adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are formidable pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why virtually all instances of hearing loss can now be efficiently treated, and why most people are pleased with the 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.