Technology evolves fast: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen television would have cost you more than $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for less than $230.
The same has occurred with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our awareness. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and less expensive, but we’re blind to the developments in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store exhibits.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have improved substantially over the last 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the bulky 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, starting 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 modern computer.
The consequence is a gadget that is compact, lightweight, energy efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the case of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern 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 received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and eventually delivered to the appropriate recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can capture 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. Likewise, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound was delivered all at one time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sort through the clutter yourself to locate 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 handling of information is the secret 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 boost 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, resulting in clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth technology can link 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 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 almost all cases of hearing loss can now be efficiently treated, and why most 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 trial period.