Living with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your relatives, the discussions you do wish to engage in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to focus on any one person or conversation.
In order to engage in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blaring in the background. This creates an impossible situation that can make you feel detached and excluded.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or remaining silent, what are your options?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. The older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the issue was that they also amplified everything else, most notably background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the person you were speaking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern hearing aids have two functions that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise reduction
Older analog hearing aid models were in fact very simple gadgets. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was detected by the microphone, amplified, and sent through the speaker to the ear.
The problem was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background sound. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you experienced a tough time hearing voices.
Since holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you actually require is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is exactly what modern digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, in addition to containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also include a digital processor. That means sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to distinguish between various types of sounds.
By differentiating and labeling different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with certain traits, such as all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be conveniently recognized and silenced.
In combination with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also recognize and concentrate on speech.
Speech has a special aspect in that it is composed mainly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between speech and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
On top of it, 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 conversing with.
Schedule Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again
Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll show you how to select among the amazing digital hearing aid technology available to you. Then, with your new hearing aids—outfitted 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.