Technology changes fast: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen television 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 notice. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and less costly, but we’re blind to the developments in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and giant store displays.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have advanced significantly over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the bulky 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 considerably better, beginning with the technology that makes it all achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have emerged as, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming versatility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The outcome is a product that is compact, lightweight, energy-efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the example of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do contemporary 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 received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and consequently 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 instance, can be identified as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and returned.
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 gets lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work tirelessly to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital control of information is the key to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are some of the advanced features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology helps make 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 suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies the signal from your phone, leading to 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 controlled with smartphones and digital watches, so you can easily and subtly adjust volume and settings.
Test Out Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you can see, digital hearing aids are powerful pieces of modern day technology. That’s why virtually 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 hearing aid trial period.