As consumers we are bombarded with advertisements for all the new gadgets and gizmos that keep us connected in today's rush of life. And a common buzz word among all of them is "digital"....everything from cell phones, TVs, music to curling irons. Curling irons? Yes even curling irons have gone digital! I was shopping for a new curling iron the other week and learned that the latest in curling irons is digital technology that senses your hair type and automatically adjusts the heat based on your hair type to prevent damage.(hmm, sounds a lot like today's digital hearing aids)
If you have been researching hearing aids you have more than likely noticed that the majority of hearing aids sold today are digital. Consumers don't often understand exactly what "digital" means and why it makes hearing aid technology better. Digital signal processing in hearing aids has taken listening to a whole new level for heairng aid wearers allowing crisper, clearer sound as well as new technologies that alow you to stay connected such as Bluetoth compatability.
So what exactly does it mean when you see a"digital" hearing aid advertised? The following is a simple explanation on digital hearing aids , taken from HealthyHearing.com, which explains digital signal processing and the benefits it provides for today's hearing aid wearers:
"Digital signal processing means incoming signals are converted into a series of binary numbers and are then processed using mathematical equations. The mathematical equations used in digital signal processing are called algorithms. Each hearing aid manufacturer utilizes unique algorithms to manipulate the signal, allowing a precise replication of the original signal with minimal distortion resulting in excellent sound quality.
Digital processing algorithms in hearing aids enable very complex manipulation of signals. A few examples are as follows:
- Separate sound into different frequency regions and amplify each region selectively, depending on the wearer's hearing loss.
- Enable different amounts of amplification for soft, moderate, and loud sounds, so sounds are audible, but loud sounds are not uncomfortable or over amplified.
- Separate background noise from a desirable signal such as speech and reduce the background noise - improving overall listening comfort.
- Detect and eliminate whistling from occurring to improve listening comfort.
- Allow wireless communication between right and left hearing aids to allow hearing aids to work together and process sound in sync.
- And many, many more!"
Many hearing aid consumers think "digital" means more expensive; however, for hearing aids since digital technology is now the standard this no longer holds true. Even entry level hearing aids are digital and according to statistics from the Hearing Industries Assocation (HIA), over 95% of all hearing aids sold today are digital.
Digital signal processing has allowed hearing aid manufacturers to continue to improve their hearing aids and the listening experience the hearing aid wearer has. Hearing aids have come a long way through the years and will only continue to improve for you, the hearing aid consumer.