Technology improves fast: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you in excess of $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our notice. We notice that TVs become bigger, 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 advanced significantly over the last 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 lightweight 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids considerably better, beginning with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have emerged as, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming flexibility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The result is a device that is small, light-weight, energy efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the case of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern-day 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 collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and eventually delivered to the appropriate 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 labeled as important and delivered to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.
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 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 magic formula to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. 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 inhibit.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies the signal from your phone, producing 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 operated with smartphones and digital watches, so you can easily and inconspicuously adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are formidable pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why nearly all cases of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why the majority of people are pleased with the performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to check out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and ask about our hearing aid trial period.