Posted on Friday, December 21, 2012

Hearing Aid Reviews: Digital Technology

Three generations of a family gather for photo after reviewing options for digital hearing aids.

Solutions for treating individual hearing loss can be as varied as the problem, but technology and research has advanced to meet the challenge. With all the advances and styles of hearing aids, buying hearing aids in today's crowded market can sometimes lead to confusion. But much of today's new features can be boiled down to one big advance, digital technology. In fact no review of hearing aids is complete without an understanding digital technology.

Digital Technology: Digital technology allows hearing aids to process more bits of information, so they are exceedingly programmable. Digital hearing aids also allow the direction of amplification to be both automatic and adaptive—meaning the hearing aid will pick up on where the noise is coming from and focus in on it. Hearing aids with digital technology can also have the ability to store and learn your preferences, recording them and adjusting automatically when it detects similar noise situations.

Digital models have all the features of analog programmable ones, but digitized sound processing (DSP) converts sound waves into digital signals. This means that the aid is able to discern whether sound is either noise or speech, and then automatically adjust accordingly to provide the clearest signal possible. This technology is the most expensive, but the advantages are numerous:

They are more programmable
They have greater precision in fitting
There is better management of loudness discomfort
There is more control of noise reduction
They allow for greater features
They allow for greater adaptability
They allow for greater ability to focus on wanted sounds
They help eliminate background noise

Digital hearing aids with their strong storing and adaptive function allow quicker processing and greater clarity, including focusing on wanted sound.

Background noise used to be a big complaint with hearing aids used in a noisy situation. Today's technology continues to improve the ways hearing aids processes background noise, and this is possible thanks to digital technology. With digital technology a hearing aid users can direct the focus of their hearing aids. As Dr. Peggy Sheets points out in her Hearing Well newsletter, “If you have someone in the backseat of your car, for example, with the push of a button, the microphones can be switched toward the back to reduce the noise from in front and the side so you can carry on a conversation more easily."

Today's hearing aids not only have advanced technology and directional microphones, but are better fit and more comfortable. There are hundreds of different styles and solutions for every type of hearing loss. Finding the right hearing aid is worth the time and effort of visiting a hearing health professional and having the degree and severity of your hearing loss properly diagnosed.

If you'd like to learn more, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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