Technology changes fast: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you more than $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can find a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has taken place with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and less costly, but we’re blind to the improvements in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and giant store exhibits.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have advanced dramatically over the last 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern 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 reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have come to be, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming flexibility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The result is a product that is compact, lightweight, energy-efficient, and capable of 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: think of 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 the same way, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be labeled as essential and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be tagged as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” function. Incoming sound is delivered all at once—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 becomes 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 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 with Bluetooth technology can link to devices wirelessly, so you can stream music, phone calls, and TV programs straight to your hearing aids.
- Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be operated with smart phones and digital watches, so you can easily and discreetly adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are powerful pieces of modern technology. That’s why virtually 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 out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and ask about our trial period.