Without a shadow of a doubt, you have heard the saying that the hearing aids of today are not anything like the ones of days gone by. You may have also heard that hearing aids are light-years ahead of where they used to be. The case holds true even when compared to devices only as old as five or ten years old. That is how fast technology is moving in the world of hearing aids. You may then be thinking, what exactly is it that makes the hearing aids of today so much better? Which of these new features could the hearing aids of old not deliver?
The very simple and short answer is this: hearing aids, like all other electronic gadgets and devices, have benefited a great deal because of the digital revolution. Hearing aids of today are basically just miniature computers that pack some serious computing power in them.
It is important to note, albeit a bit obvious, that before becoming digital, hearing aids used to be analog. Let us take a closer look at the phenomenon and try to understand why the jump from analog to digital was such a massive improvement.
At their core, all hearing aid devices are responsible for doing the same exact thing. All of them have the following components: a microphone, an amplifier, a speaker, and a battery. The mic is responsible for detecting all the sounds from the environment. The amplifier makes that signal stronger, and the speaker is responsible for delivering the final louder sound directly to your ears.
At its core, it is not at all very complicated. However, the place that does get complicated is in how exactly the devices process the sound that is captured. The way digital hearing devices do this is far different from how the analog ones tend to do it.
The analog devices process the sound from the environment in a process that is not very complicated. It is achieved in three basic steps. The sound gets picked up by the mic, it is then amplified, and then it is sent to our ears by means of the speaker. What this basically is trying to accomplish is to make all sounds a bit louder. This means that analog hearing aid devices will also amplify the sounds that do not need to be amplified. This includes things like background noises and also things that you can already hear very well.
On the other hand, digital hearing aids make use of a fourth step when they are processing the sound. They convert the sound waves into digital information. By its very nature, sounds are analog signals. So, instead of just amplifying the sound all sound, digital hearing aids convert these analog signals into digital information. This information can then be played with and can be changed. Digital hearing aids have this massive advantage over their analog counterparts. That final step in the processing of the sound makes all the difference in the world and can really be a game-changer.
More or less, all hearing aids that are available in the market today are digital. This is for a good reason as well. Due to the fact that analog hearing aids are only able to amplify sounds and are not really capable of changing the quality of the sound, they fall far back in comparison to digital hearing aids. This is due to the fact that analog hearing aids have a tendency to amplify unnecessary and background noise as well. This can make it difficult to hear in noisy environments, and it also makes talking on the phone a nearly impossible task.
On the other hand, digital hearing aids have the ability to amplify just the necessary sounds. Due to the massive advancements in technology, these digital devices are much better suited to process the sound that it captures. This is due to the fact that these devices have an extra strep in the process of conversion. That extra step is the transformation of analog sound waves into digital information. This digital information can then be manipulated by the mini-computer and then be made use of for optimal hearing.
Below, we will list some of the other advantages they have over their analog counterparts.
- The fact that miniature computer technology runs these devices then gives them the ability to be very small and therefore discreet.
- Much more stylish colors and designs.
- Can be programmed for optimal hearing in various environments.
- Can be fine-tuned to the needs of the individual patient.