Hearing aid technology has improved drastically over the past couple of decades. Early devices relied on vacuum tubes and bulky batteries, but today’s instruments take advantage of digital signal processing, microchips and computerization. Keeping track of the latest technological features can be challenging, but we’ll cover a few of the more popular options here.
Some of the breakthroughs in hearing aid technology include the following:
- Gain processing, which reduces background and microphone noise for a clearer sound.
- Digital feedback reduction with built-in cancellation, which reduces or eliminates squelching and feedback.
- Digital noise reduction, which reduces background noises for better, more reliable speech recognition.
- Directional microphones, which provide better directionality by having one microphone focus on the sound source while the other decreases background noise.
- Automatic programming, which utilizes preset programs that automatically adapt to a range of different sound environments.
For decades, hearing aids were strictly analog. But the digital revolution has taken over many areas formerly devoted to analog technology, and hearing aids are no exception. Digital programming works by converting sound waves into digital signals using digitized sound processing. A built-in computer chip determines whether the signal is speech or noise and converts it into a clear, amplified signal. Digital programming offers many benefits including improved speech quality, advanced programming options, a better fit, and a multitude of features that work to improve and enhance functionality of the hearing aids.
Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids allow users to stream signals from their cell phones, tablets, and blue tooth computers directly to their hearing aids. This improves the quality of sound from these devices and allows a hands-free experience wherever the user wants to use this option.
Most of the major hearing aid manufacturers now offer rechargeable options or the ability to convert existing hearing aids into rechargeable ones, freeing users from the hassle of disposable batteries. By utilizing lithium-ion batteries, a full charge can allow the hearing aid user the chance to wear your hearing aids all day long and not have to worry about having them run out of power during an especially inopportune moment. The length of the battery use is impacted by the amount of time the user uses streaming during the day.
Which Is Right for Me?
With all these advances in hearing aid technology, devices are better at providing clear sound than ever before. While the choices may seem overwhelming, working closely with your audiologist at Barrington Hearing Center can help you figure out which technology and features are perfect for your needs.
Call Barrington Hearing Center at (847) 382-5700 for more information or to schedule an appointment.
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