Going Digital with Your Hearing Aids

Going Digital with Your Hearing Aids

In Hearing Aids, Hearing Health, Hearing Technology by Dr. Chris Lawson

Dr. Chris Lawson

Alongside other technical advancements, hearing aids have made huge strides, making hearing technology better than ever before. Although analog hearing aids help many people with hearing loss, the real game-changer was when hearing aids went digital.

Hearing aids have three core components: a microphone to capture sound signals, an amplifier to raise the volume and a receiver to deliver the sounds to your ears. Let’s look at the differences between analog and digital hearing aids, and explore some of the benefits that digital hearing aids have to offer.

Analog Hearing Aids

Analog hearing aids work by enhancing all of the sounds in the immediate environment.  This may sound attractive, but analog hearing aids also exacerbate sounds that you may want to avoid. This makes loud sounds even louder, making them very uncomfortable to experience.

Analog hearing aids can be difficult to wear in crowded places because they intensify any sound, and they can also make it almost impossible to hear on the telephone or watch the television in the presence of background noise. When amplifying loud sounds, there is the chance that they can even lead to additional hearing loss.

Earlier analog hearing aids were large and conspicuous. While today’s analog hearing aids have made huge strides over earlier iterations, digital hearing aids are now the preferred technology for and hearing aid user.

The digital revolution

The first commercially available digital hearing aid was released in 1995, since then, they have become even more powerful and feature-packed.

Digital hearing aids operate on the same concepts as analog, but add extra incoming sound processing to better fit the listening experience to the hearing needs of the user. A microphone continues to feed incoming sound into amplification circuits that transmit sound to an ear receiver.  They use a DSP or Digital Signal Processor to process sound.   This is a small computer chip that can interpret and control sound waves in many ways. These advanced features offered by digital hearing aids are not possible with analog equipment.

Benefits of going digital

Modern digital hearing devices will ultimately help almost every person with mild to severe hearing loss to improve his or her hearing. The explosive growth of ever more advanced technology and algorithms for digital signal processing makes automatic hearing aids the best option for improved hearing.

Digital hearing aids are special in their ability to process and isolate distracting background noise while at the same time improving the vital sound signals required for comprehension. Hearing programming can be much more fine-grained, making a prescription much closer to normal hearing than is possible with conventional analog instruments.

Digital hearing aids offer even more benefits. They can:

  • enhance or suppress certain frequencies and patterns of noise.
  • move sounds to more appropriate ranges.
  • provide multiple listening modes for different conditions or situations.
  • be highly tailored to your unique listening needs.
  • be less likely to receive feedback, including whistling.
  • be smaller than analogue hearing aids
  • track the surroundings continuously to identify the best sound settings.
  • communicate with numerous other devices to stream content.

Directional microphones are often included in digital hearing aids. These can be used to concentrate on the voices and sounds that a person wants to hear, as well as reduce the prominence of other sounds.  Some digital hearing aids have become so sophisticated that they simply detect the environment and turn these microphones on immediately. In addition, the direction of noise can even be detected by some very advanced models.

Evergreen Audiology

Digital sound is an innovation that really pays off in your hearing health. You’ll find the latest digital technology from all the leading brands in the industry. For your hearing needs and lifestyle, we can help you in finding the digital hearing instrument that’s right for you.

For more information about digital hearing aid technology, talk to us! We will help you choose a model that suits your needs and budget. Evergreen Audiology can also help if you’re looking for an upgrade to your existing hearing aids or if you’re thinking about getting some for the first time. Our audiologist will help you identify your own hearing needs and find a solution by working with you.