Technology evolves rapidly: in 2006, the average 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you more than $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our attention. We notice that TVs become bigger, better, and cheaper, but we’re blind to the progressions in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store exhibits.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have improved drastically 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, starting with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, 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 contemporary computer.
The outcome is a gadget that is small, lightweight, energy-efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the example of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern-day hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: picture inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is obtained, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and subsequently delivered to the appropriate recipients. Similarly, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be tagged as important and delivered 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 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 tirelessly to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital adjustment of information is the secret to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the state-of-the-art features associated with modern hearing aids that digital technology helps make possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can recognize and boost 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 amplifies the signal from your phone, leading to 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 directly to your hearing aids.
- Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be controlled with smart phones and digital watches, so you can easily 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 virtually all instances of hearing loss can now be efficiently treated, and why the majority of people are pleased with the 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.