The future is hear in regards to digital hearing aids, giving more versatile options to the person with hearing loss. With an eye on the future, audiologists can now customize each device depending on the requirements of each user, such as automatic adjustments on volume to maintain ideal levels. Just like every device before it, the digital hearing aid has a progression of technology that is easy to track. Advancements have come fast one after another, going from analog to digital in the present day. While some are available with remote controls that allow the user to adjust various settings, others come with omni-directional microphones to detect sound from multiple directions. Most hearing aids manufactured today are digital and there are many reasons for that. Analog hearing aids were formerly the popular option. With flexibility and versatility for hearing impaired individuals at the forefront, wireless technology and microelectronics have produced the capacity to control background noise filtration and connect to Bluetooth.
The First Digital Hearing Aids
The initial digital hearing aids were great for boosting processing speeds which improved the ability to hear. Range of amplification was also greatly improved. The first digital hearing aids featured DSP for digital noise reduction, technically standing for digital signal processing. 1996 was the first year that saw this advancement.
In 2014, digital hearing aids can ban background noise so that the user can hear clear words but not all the background din. Improvements in wireless technology have allowed for improved speech recognition and SNR, which stands for signal-to-noise ratio. Did you know that hearing aids can actually communicate with each other? A main complaint of users is that it’s tough to hear clearly with all the background noise. Older hearing aids amplified all sound, which was great for hearing words but this also presented an added challenge of filtering out the background noise.
It’s not just your phones that are “smart.” Digital hearing aids are great for adjusting settings like volume automatically after a period of time according to how the user prefers it. Control is put into the hands of the person wearing it, which is yet another advancement.
Digital Noise Reduction (DNR)
Digital noise reduction technology surpasses that of directional microphones because it is based on the physical characteristics of noise and speech rather than the separation of space, taking into account speech modulation.
Single Sided Deafness
Technologies like CROS devices and bone conduction devices allow the good ear to receive signals from the bad ear to improve on amplification. Prior to big advancements in digital technology, people who had single-sided deafness had to deal with the frustration of background noise and were relegated to using their “good ear” to hear conversation.
The horizon is awash in brightness for the continued advancement of the digital hearing aid. It is only expected to continue its growth. For optimum in flexibility and versatility, hearing impaired individuals can count on digital hearing aids that rely on innovative wireless technology and microelectronics.