Dealing with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially difficult.
While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear a few of your family members, the discussions you do wish to participate in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be virtually impossible to focus on any one person or dialogue.
In order to engage in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting 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 remaining quiet, what are your choices?
Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the trouble was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the people you were talking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, the latest hearing aids have two functions that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Earlier analog hearing aid models were in fact very straightforward devices. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.
The trouble was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between vocalization and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a quiet setting, you experienced a frustrating time hearing voices.
Because holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you actually require is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is precisely what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, in combination with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also incorporate a digital processor. That means sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can utilize to distinguish between various kinds of sounds.
By differentiating and designating different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with specific properties, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be conveniently identified and suppressed.
In combination with restraining background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a unique characteristic in that it is composed primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to differentiate between conversation and background noise, which is predominantly low frequency.
On top of it, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in specific directions, like the direction of the person you’re speaking to.
Schedule Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again
Are you ready to recover your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll guide you to select among the incredible digital hearing aid technology available to you. 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.