Struggling with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially difficult.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the discussions you do want to indulge in can be stressful. And because most large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be virtually impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.
If you wish to participate in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking all at once around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This produces an impossible situation that can make you feel detached and left out.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or remaining quiet, what are your options?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the problem was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the people you were speaking with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, contemporary hearing aids have two features that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise reduction
Earlier analog hearing aid models were in fact very simple gadgets. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was acquired by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.
The drawback was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background sound. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you had a frustrating time hearing voices.
Because holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you ultimately need is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is exactly what contemporary digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, along with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also include a digital processor. As a result, sound can be converted into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to distinguish between various types of sounds.
By identifying and labeling different types of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with selected traits, such as all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be conveniently identified and repressed.
Along with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.
Speech has a unique attribute in that it is composed principally of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to distinguish between speech and background noise, which is principally low frequency.
In addition, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted directions, such as the direction of the person you’re speaking to.
Book Your Hearing Test and Make the Most Of the Holidays Again
Are you ready to get back your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll show you how to choose among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, with your new hearing aids—outfitted with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll be able 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.