Evanston Audiology - Evanston, IL

Holiday Hearing

Dealing with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially challenging.

While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your relatives, the conversations you do wish to participate in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be near impossible to focus on any one person or conversation.

If you wish to engage in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blaring in the background. This produces an impossible situation that can make you feel isolated and excluded.

Short of making everyone repeat themselves or remaining quiet, what are your choices?

Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. The older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the trouble was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the person you were speaking with.

But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, contemporary hearing aids have two functions that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.

Background noise suppression

Older analog hearing aid models were in fact very simple devices. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.

The drawback was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between voices and background noise. The amplifier made every sound louder, so unless you were in a quiet setting, you had a frustrating time hearing voices.

Since holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you ultimately require is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is precisely what modern digital hearing aids can accomplish.

Digital hearing aids, on top of containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also feature a digital processor. As a result, sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can use to differentiate between various kinds of sounds.

By differentiating and tagging different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with certain characteristics, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily identified and repressed.

Speech focus

In combination with suppressing background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.

Speech has a distinct feature in that it is made up of mainly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to differentiate between speaking and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.

On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in specific directions, like the direction of the person you’re conversing with.

Book Your Hearing Test and Make the Most Of the Holidays Again

Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?

Give us a call today and we’ll show you how to select among the amazing digital hearing aid technology available to you. After that, with your new hearing aids—outfitted 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.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
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