Dealing with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be particularly difficult.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear a few of your family members, the conversations you do wish 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 engage in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blaring in the background. This creates an impossible situation that can make you feel isolated and left out.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or staying silent, what are your options?
Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. The older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the issue was that they also amplified everything else, most notably background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the person you were conversing with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern hearing aids have two features that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Older analog hearing aid models were essentially very simple gadgets. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was collected by the microphone, amplified, and sent through the speaker to the ear.
The complication was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between voices and background sound. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you had a difficult time hearing voices.
Since holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you really require is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is exactly what modern digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, in combination with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also incorporate a digital processor. That means sound can be converted into digital information that the hearing aid can utilize to differentiate between different kinds of sounds.
By identifying and tagging different kinds of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with particular attributes, such as all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be conveniently recognized and suppressed.
In combination with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.
Speech has a special property in that it is made up of principally of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to differentiate between speaking and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
In addition, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted directions, such as the direction of the person you’re speaking with.
Book Your Hearing Test and Make the Most Of the Holidays Again
Are you ready to recover your holiday season?
Give us a call today and we’ll show you how to choose among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. After that, with your new hearing aids—outfitted with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll be able 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.