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.
What Are Analog Hearing Aids?
Analog technology has been phased out almost entirely. Analog units offer very few adjustable options and amplify most incoming sounds the same way. Some analog hearing aids can be programmed for different listening environments and some offer some noise reduction circuitry.
How Are Digital Hearing Devices Different?
Digital hearing aids use digitized sound processing to convert sound waves into digital signals. The digital signal can be manipulated in hundreds of different ways to best work with your hearing and your needs. Advantages in digital processing are significant: it offers improved programming flexibility, a more precise fit and a number of features designed to improve or enhance functionality, including:
- Wide dynamic range compression ensures that soft sound are audible, medium sounds are clear and loud sounds are comfortable.
- Digital feedback reduction (DFR) relies on cancellation systems to eliminate or reduce feedback.
- Digital noise reduction (DNR) reduces background noises for improved speech recognition.
- Directional microphones utilize two sets of microphones to enhance the sound coming from the front and reduce the sound coming from behind to give a boost in speech understanding in noisy environments.
- Wireless connectivity with Bluetooth® devices provides great flexibility.
Which Is Right for Me?
While the choices may seem overwhelming, working closely with Dr. Kjeldsen at Valley Audiology can help you figure out which technology and features are perfect for your needs.
Call Valley Audiology at (925) 676-8101 for more information or to schedule an appointment.