You’ve likely heard people in the hearing health industry boast about the amazing advances made to hearing technology in recent years. Hearing professionals claim revolutionary improvements have been made as recently as the past few years, and leading manufacturers of hearing aids Phonak, ReSound and Oticon have recently been applauded for releasing the most technologically advanced devices to date. Still, it can be difficult for an outside observer to understand the significance of these improvements. To do so, you first have to understand the science behind the hearing aid.
When looking at the history of the hearing aid, one of the greatest leaps in technology has been the introduction of digital hearing aids. Though analog options are still available, digital hearing aids have dominated the market since the 1990s. The primary difference is in the way these two technologies amplify sounds. Analog hearing aids are relatively uncomplicated. These devices use a microphone to capture sound, an amplifier to increase the strength of that sound, and a speaker delivers the amplified sound to your ears.
Digital hearing aids, otherwise known as digital signal processor DSP, add a fourth step to this process. Digital devices convert the captured sound into digital information. Instead of just amplifying sound, the device recreates sound digitally. This also allows the device to analyze and manipulate the digital information to enhance the sound experience. A digital device could, for example, make it easier to hear conversation in a crowded restaurant by increasing speech sounds and muting ambient noise.
The digital revolution has provided audiology experts the opportunity to treat each patient’s hearing loss individually. After performing a hearing test, the audiologist is able to program the device to amplify hard-to-hear frequencies, making them easy to hear above other sounds.
While these changes have elevated hearing aids to a much higher level than ever before, this is only the beginning. Through the study of optical and laser technology, we might even witness another hearing revolution in our lifetime. If you’d like to learn more about how the improvements to hearing technology could benefit you or if you’d like to schedule a consultation with one of Louisville’s hearing aid experts, contact us at (502) 584-3573!