Technology changes quickly: in 2006, the average 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you in excess of $1,500. Today, 10 years later, you can buy a 40-inch flat screen TV for less than $230.
The same has taken place with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and cheaper, but we’re blind to the advancements in hearing aids because we’re not inundated with advertising and massive store exhibits.
Nevertheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have improved drastically 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 considerably better, beginning with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronics, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have evolved into, in a sense, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding versatility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The consequence is a product that is small, light-weight, energy efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the case of a hearing aid, sound.
So how do modern-day 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 received, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and subsequently delivered to the correct recipients. In the same way, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label certain frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be tagged as essential and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” feature. Incoming sound was delivered all at the same 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 gets 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 do. Here are a few of the state-of-the-art features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology helps make 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 inhibit.
- Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology amplifies the signal from your phone, leading to clear sound without interference.
- Wireless streaming – hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth technology can connect 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 operated with smart phones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and discreetly adjust volume and settings.
Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids
As you have seen, digital hearing aids are powerful pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why almost all instances of hearing loss can now be successfully treated, and why most 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 trial period.