Technology improves fast: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you in excess of $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can find a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has happened with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our notice. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and cheaper, but we’re blind to the developments in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store exhibits.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have improved dramatically 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 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 electronic devices, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have emerged as, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding versatility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The outcome is a gadget that is compact, light-weight, energy efficient, and proficient at manipulating information—information being, in the instance of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do contemporary hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: visualize inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and consequently delivered to the correct recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be labeled as essential and delivered to the speaker for amplification. Similarly, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have 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 becomes lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work tirelessly to dig it out.
Hearing Aid Advanced Features
Digital adjustment of information is the primary factor to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are a few of the state-of-the-art features associated with modern hearing aids that digital technology makes possible:
- Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can recognize and boost speech with digital processing and directional microphones.
- Background noise suppression – background noise is a lower frequency sound, which the hearing aid can recognize and inhibit.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies the signal from your phone, resulting in clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids equipped 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 effortlessly and subtly adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you can see, digital hearing aids are impressive pieces of modern day technology. That’s why nearly all instances of hearing loss can now be successfully treated, and why the majority of people are satisfied with the performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to test drive this new technology for yourself, give us a call and ask about our hearing aid trial period.