Hearing aid technology is vastly different than it was a couple of decades ago. Digital technology has enabled manufacturers to reduce the size of instruments while improving sound performance and clarity. A wide range of features and options allows for unparalleled customization and a level of quality unimaginable just a few years ago. It’s important to understand how this technology may affect you before choosing to invest in hearing aids.
Digital Features, Options & Benefits
Hearing aids in the past consisted of vacuum tubes and large batteries. By contrast, today’s devices are nearly miniature in size, thanks to the advent of digital technology and the superiority of digital signal processing, microchips and computerization. Analog devices have been almost completely phased out, thanks to their inability to distinguish between different sound frequencies, and limited programming capabilities.
Digital devices, on the other hand, rely on digitized sound processing to convert sound waves into digital signals. A computer chip separates these signals based on whether they are speech or inconsequential background noise and converts the important ones into clear, amplified signals. This translates into greatly improved programming options, a better fit and a crop of new options and features for improved functionality.
Enhanced features include gain processing for reduced background sounds and microphone noise; digital feedback reduction for noise cancellation and reduced feedback; digital noise reduction for enhanced speech recognition; dual microphones for improved directionality; and wireless connectivity for the ability to communicate with Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Technology continues to improve, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to future options. As always, your audiologist is happy to guide you through the process when selecting hearing aids.