Technology evolves rapidly: in 2006, the average 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you more than $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We notice that TVs become bigger, better, and less costly, but we’re blind to the enhancements in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded 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 day 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 electronic devices, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have become, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming flexibility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The outcome is a device that is small, light-weight, energy efficient, and proficient at manipulating information—information being, in the instance of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern 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 collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately delivered to the correct recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be labeled as essential and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” feature. Incoming sound was delivered all at one time—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 handling of information is the magic formula to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some 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 amplifies the signal from your phone, producing 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 inconspicuously adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are robust pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why nearly all instances of hearing loss can now be efficiently treated, and why the majority of people are satisfied with the overall 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 trial period.