Coping with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially challenging.
While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear some of your relatives, the discussions you do want to indulge 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 engage 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 produces an impossible situation that can make you feel detached and excluded.
Short of making everyone repeat themselves or remaining quiet, what are your options?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the trouble 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 much with understanding the people you were speaking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern hearing aids have two features that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Earlier analog hearing aid models were actually very straightforward devices. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was acquired by the microphone, amplified, and delivered through the speaker to the ear.
The difficulty was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between voices and background sound. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you had a challenging time hearing voices.
Since holiday events are anything but quiet, what you necessarily need is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is exactly what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, along with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also feature a digital processor. That means sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to differentiate between different types of sounds.
By distinguishing and tagging different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with particular traits, including all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily recognized and repressed.
In combination with suppressing background sound, modern hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a distinctive characteristic in that it is made up of chiefly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to distinguish between speech and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
In addition, digital hearing aids have what are referred to as directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted directions, such as the direction of the person you’re conversing with.
Book Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again
Are you ready to recover your holiday season?
Give us a call today and we’ll assist you to select among the amazing digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, with your new hearing aids—outfitted 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.