Technology evolves rapidly: in 2006, the average 40-inch flat screen television would have cost you more than $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for around $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our notice. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and more economical, but we’re blind to the progressions in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store exhibits.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have advanced 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 compact 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 achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have evolved into, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding versatility 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 instance of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do contemporary 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 collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and eventually delivered to the correct recipients. In the same way, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be identified as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” function. Incoming sound is 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 find 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 primary factor to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are a few of the state-of-the-art features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology helps make possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can recognize 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 suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology enhances 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 effortlessly and inconspicuously adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you can see, digital hearing aids are robust pieces of modern day technology. That’s why almost all cases of hearing loss can now be successfully treated, and why most people are satisfied with the overall performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to test drive this new technology for yourself, give us a call and ask about our trial period.