Technology evolves fast: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you over $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our attention. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and more affordable, but we’re blind to the innovations in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and massive store exhibits.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have progressed drastically over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, today’s digital hearing aids are like the compact 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids significantly better, starting with the technology that makes it all achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have evolved into, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding flexibility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The consequence is a product that is compact, lightweight, energy-efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the instance of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: envision inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately delivered to the appropriate recipients. Similarly, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be tagged as essential 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 is delivered all at one time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sort through the clutter yourself to find your own. Speech simply gets lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work hard to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital handling of information is the primary factor to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are some of the state-of-the-art features associated with modern hearing aids that digital technology makes 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 recognize and suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology enhances the signal from your phone, resulting in 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 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 formidable pieces of modern day technology. That’s why virtually all cases of hearing loss can now be efficiently treated, and why most people are satisfied with the overall performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to test out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and ask about our hearing aid trial period.