Why Modern Digital Hearing Aids Are Better Than Analog
Technology changes fast: in 2006, the typical 40-inch flat screen television would’ve cost you more than $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, even though it’s more likely to escape our awareness. We notice that TVs become larger, better, and more affordable, but we’re blind to the enhancements in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store exhibits.
Nonetheless, hearing aids, together with all other consumer electronics, have progressed considerably 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 light 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.
Here’s what makes modern hearing aids better, beginning with the technology that makes it all possible.
Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have benefited from the digital revolution. Hearing aids have evolved into, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the coding flexibility you’d expect from a modern computer.
The result is a product that is small, lightweight, energy-efficient, and proficient at 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 collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and consequently delivered to the correct recipients. In a similar manner, digital hearing aids can capture incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for instance, can be tagged as important and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be tagged as “undeliverable” and returned.
Analog hearing aids didn’t have this “mailroom” feature. 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 find 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 handling of information is the key to everything a modern hearing aid can do. Here are some of the advanced 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 identify and suppress.
- 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 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 smart phones 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 technology. That’s why virtually all instances of hearing loss can now be successfully treated, and why the majority of people are pleased with the overall performance of their hearing aids.
If you’d like to test out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and inquire about our trial period.