Technology evolves quickly: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you over $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for less than $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our awareness. We notice that TVs become bigger, better, and less expensive, but we’re blind to the advancements in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and massive store exhibits.
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, modern 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 possible.
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 flexibility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The result is a gadget that is compact, lightweight, energy-efficient, and proficient at manipulating information—information being, in the case of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern 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 obtained, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately delivered to the appropriate recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be tagged as essential and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be tagged as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound is delivered all at one time—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 hard to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital manipulation of information is the key element to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the advanced features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology helps make possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can distinguish and enhance 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, producing 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 directly to your hearing aids.
- Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be operated with smart phones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and discreetly adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are powerful pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why almost all cases of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why the majority of 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.