Coping with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the conversations you do want to indulge in can be stressful. And because most large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be virtually impossible to focus on any one person or dialogue.
If you wish to participate in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking all at once around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This creates an impossible scenario that can make you feel isolated and excluded.
Short of making everyone repeat themselves or staying silent, 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, most notably background noise. Since 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, modern-day hearing aids have two functions that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise reduction
Earlier analog hearing aid models were actually very straightforward gadgets. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was collected by the microphone, amplified, and distributed through the speaker to the ear.
The challenge was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between voices and background sound. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a quiet setting, you had a tough time hearing voices.
Because holiday events are anything but quiet, what you ultimately require is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is precisely what contemporary digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, in addition to containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also include a digital processor. That means sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to distinguish between different kinds of sounds.
By identifying and designating different kinds of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with particular characteristics, such as all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily identified and silenced.
Along with suppressing background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.
Speech has a exclusive trait in that it is composed primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to differentiate between speech and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are called directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted 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 get back your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll guide you to choose among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. After that, with your new hearing aids—equipped 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.