Technology evolves rapidly: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you in excess of $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can purchase 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 notice. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and cheaper, but we’re blind to the developments in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and massive store displays.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have progressed substantially over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern day digital hearing aids are like the light 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids significantly better, beginning with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have emerged as, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming versatility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The consequence is a product that is small, light-weight, energy efficient, and proficient at 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 received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and eventually delivered to the correct recipients. In the same manner, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be tagged as important and delivered to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound is delivered all at the same time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sift through the clutter yourself to locate 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 manipulation of information is the secret to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are a few of the advanced features associated with modern hearing aids that digital technology makes 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 identify and suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies the signal from your phone, resulting in clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth technology can connect 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 smartphones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and subtly adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are formidable pieces of modern technology. That’s why nearly all instances of hearing loss can now be effectively 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 inquire about our trial period.