Living with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially difficult.
While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the discussions you do want to participate in can be stressful. And because most large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be nearly impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.
In order to participate 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 making everyone repeat themselves or staying silent, what are your choices?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. The older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the issue was that they also amplified everything else, most notably background noise. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the people you were speaking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, contemporary 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 actually very straightforward gadgets. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and sent through the speaker to the ear.
The issue was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background sound. The amplifier made every sound louder, so unless you were in a quiet setting, you experienced a hard time hearing voices.
Since holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you really require is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is precisely what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, in combination with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also include a digital processor. That means sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can use to distinguish between various types of sounds.
By distinguishing and designating different kinds of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with selected attributes, such as all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be conveniently identified and repressed.
In combination with restraining background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and concentrate on speech.
Speech has a unique characteristic in that it is composed primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between speech and background noise, which is predominantly low frequency.
What’s more, digital hearing aids have what are called directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in targeted directions, such as the direction of the person you’re talking to.
Schedule Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again
Are you ready to recover your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll help you select among the amazing digital hearing aid technology on the market. 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.