Grand Rapids, MI 616-773-2419
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McDonald Hearing Services - Grand Rapids, MI

Digital Hearing Aid

Technology changes fast: in 2005, the typical 40-inch flat screen TV would have cost you in excess of $1,500. Now, 10 years later, you can purchase a 40-inch flat screen TV for about $230.

The same has taken place with hearing aids, even though it’s more likely to escape our recognition. We take note that TVs become bigger, better, and more economical, but we’re blind to the developments in hearing aids because we’re not bombarded with advertising and giant store exhibits.

Nonetheless, hearing aids, along with all other consumer electronics, have improved considerably over the past 10 years. If analog hearing aids are like the cumbersome 15-inch-tube-TVs of the past, modern digital hearing aids are like the lightweight 65-inch-Ultra-High-Definition TVs of the present.

Here’s what makes modern hearing aids better, starting with the technology that makes it all achievable.

Digital Technology

Hearing aids, like all electronic devices, have reaped the benefits of the digital revolution. Hearing aids have emerged as, in a way, miniaturized computers, with all of the programming flexibility you’d expect from a modern computer.

The consequence is a product that is small, light-weight, energy-efficient, and capable of manipulating information—information being, in the instance of a hearing aid, sound.

So how do modern hearing aids manipulate sound? Let’s use an analogy: picture inbound sound as incoming mail and the digital hearing aid as a mailroom.

As mail is collected, it’s identified, labeled, stored, and subsequently delivered to the appropriate recipients. In the same manner, digital hearing aids can take incoming sound and can label specific frequencies to be delivered to the amplifier. Speech sounds, for example, can be labeled as essential and sent to the speaker for amplification. Likewise, background noise can be labeled as “undeliverable” and returned.

Analog hearing aids lacked this “mailroom” function. Incoming sound was delivered all at the same time—like if the mail clerk were to give you everyone’s mail and you had to sort through the clutter yourself to find your own. Speech simply gets lost in the mix with background noise, and you have to work hard to dig it out.

Hearing Aid Advanced Features

Digital adjustment of information is the magic formula to everything a modern hearing aid can accomplish. Here are some of the state-of-the-art features associated with contemporary hearing aids that digital technology makes possible:

  • Speech recognition – digital hearing aids can distinguish and boost speech with digital processing and directional microphones.
  • Background noise suppression – background noise is a lower frequency sound, which the hearing aid can recognize and inhibit.
  • Clearer phone calls – telecoil technology enhances the signal from your phone, producing clear sound without interference.
  • Wireless streaming – hearing aids with Bluetooth technology can link to devices wirelessly, so you can stream music, phone calls, and TV programs directly to your hearing aids.
  • Wireless control – compatible hearing aids can be operated with smartphones and digital watches, so you can effortlessly and discreetly adjust volume and settings.

Trial Your New Digital Hearing Aids

As you have seen, digital hearing aids are impressive pieces of contemporary technology. That’s why virtually all instances of hearing loss can now be effectively treated, and why the majority of people are satisfied with the performance of their hearing aids.

If you’d like to test out this new technology for yourself, give us a call and ask about our trial period.