Technology evolves rapidly: in 2006, the average 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you in excess of $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for around $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We notice that TVs become bigger, better, and less costly, but we’re blind to the improvements in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and giant store exhibits.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have advanced dramatically over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern digital hearing aids are like the lightweight 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids significantly better, beginning with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have become, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding versatility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The result is a product that is small, light-weight, energy efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the instance of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern-day hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: think of inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately 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 identified as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be tagged as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” function. Incoming sound was delivered all at one time—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 becomes 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 key element to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are a few of the state-of-the-art features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology helps make possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can distinguish 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 enhances the signal from your phone, producing clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids 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 controlled with smart phones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and inconspicuously adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you can see, digital hearing aids are robust pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why almost all instances 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 test drive this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our trial period.