Living with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear a few of your family members, the conversations you do wish to take part in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.
If you wish to participate 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 making everyone repeat themselves or remaining silent, what are your choices?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. The older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the trouble was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the person you were speaking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, the latest hearing aids have two features that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise reduction
Older analog hearing aid models were essentially very straightforward devices. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was acquired by the microphone, amplified, and transported through the speaker to the ear.
The trouble was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background noise. The amplifier made every sound louder, so unless you were in a quiet setting, you experienced a hard time hearing voices.
Because holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you necessarily need is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is exactly what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, along with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also contain a digital processor. That means sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to differentiate between various kinds of sounds.
By identifying and tagging different types of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with special characteristics, including all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be conveniently identified and suppressed.
Along with restraining background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a exclusive property in that it is made up of primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between speaking and background noise, which is predominantly low frequency.
On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are called directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in specific directions, such as the direction of the person you’re speaking to.
Schedule Your Hearing Test and Enjoy the Holidays Again
Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?
Give us a call today and we’ll show you how to select among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. After that, with your new hearing aids—equipped 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.