Struggling with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be particularly challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear a few of your family members, the conversations you do wish to participate in can be stressful. And because most large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to focus on any one person or conversation.
In order to participate in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking all at once around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This produces an impossible scenario that can make you feel isolated and left out.
Short of making everyone repeat themselves or staying quiet, what are your options?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the problem was that they also amplified everything else, most notably background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the person you were in conversation with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern hearing aids have two functions that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise reduction
Older analog hearing aid models were in fact very simple devices. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and distributed through the speaker to the ear.
The drawback was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between voices and background sound. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a quiet setting, you had a frustrating time hearing voices.
Since holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you necessarily require is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is exactly what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, in addition to containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also incorporate a digital processor. That means sound can be converted into digital information that the hearing aid can use to distinguish between various kinds of sounds.
By identifying and designating different kinds of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with selected traits, such as all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be conveniently recognized and silenced.
In combination with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a distinctive characteristic in that it is made up of chiefly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to distinguish between speech and background noise, which is predominantly low frequency.
In addition, digital hearing aids have what are referred to as directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted directions, like the direction of the person you’re speaking with.
Reserve Your Hearing Test and Enjoy the Holidays Again
Are you ready to get back your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll guide you to select among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. After that, with your new hearing aids—complete with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll have the ability to hear all of the conversations with comfort and clarity.
As for the relatives you don’t want to hear? Not to worry, the hearing aids also come equipped with an off button.