Technology evolves fast: in 2005, the average 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you in excess of $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.
The same has taken place with hearing aids, although it’s more likely to escape our awareness. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and less costly, but we’re blind to the progressions in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and giant store displays.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have progressed dramatically over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern day digital hearing aids are like the compact 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids better, starting with the technology that makes it all achievable.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have evolved into, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding versatility you’d expect from a contemporary computer.
The consequence is a product that is compact, light-weight, energy efficient, and proficient at manipulating information—information being, in the case of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: imagine inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.
As mail is obtained, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and ultimately delivered to the correct recipients. In the same way, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be labeled as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be marked as “undeliverable” and suppressed.
Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” functionality. Incoming sound was 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 locate 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 control of information is the key element to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the state-of-the-art features associated with contemporary 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 suppress.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies the signal from your phone, resulting in clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids with Bluetooth technology can connect to devices wirelessly, so you can stream music, phone calls, and TV programs straight 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 powerful pieces of modern day technology. That’s why almost all cases of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why the majority of people are pleased with the performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to check out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our hearing aid trial period.