Digital Hearing Aids: Just Like Your CD Player

If you've experienced hearing loss, you've probably thought about getting a hearing aid, or perhaps you already have one. The most common way hearing aids work these days is not by directly amplifying the sounds around you, but rather, converting them into digital code--a series of numbers, essentially--and then re-converting the digital code into audio signals. This is exactly what a CD player does--it reads the numbers on the disc and then converts them into audio signals.

Customized to the Sound Level You Need

One of the major improvements in digital hearing aids versus analog ones is that the amplification level can be customized. Older, analog hearing aids simply increased the sound by a fixed amount, regardless of the wearer's needs. Digital hearing aids can be programmed to provide exactly the level of amplification you need.

How Well Do Digital Hearing Aids Work?

Very well, in fact. While a hearing aid can never exactly duplicate the exact experience of natural hearing, they work surprisingly well in terms of giving you the functionality you want and need. Conversations are much easier to understand with a digital hearing aid; because the processor breaks the sounds you hear into discrete frequencies and encodes and decodes them separately, you can pick out individual voices in a room. Not being able to do that was one of the most frequent complaints when hearing aids were analog rather than digital.

Increased Battery Life and Processor Efficiency

Digital audio technology is not new--in fact, it is over three decades old--but a major problem with portable digital audio devices is the processor's drain on battery power. It is only quite recently that processors have become powerful and efficient enough (the two qualities go hand-in-hand) that one could be put in a hearing aid and the battery would not need to be replaced at frequent intervals (this problem, in fact, has made many people retain their analog hearing aids even though the digital ones would perform better).

You can now get small, efficient, long-battery-life digital hearing aids; recent improvements in the technology have resulted in an explosion in the market, with more companies making hearing aids than ever before.

Unobtrusive Yet Highly Functional

You might, like many hearing aid users, be self-conscious about wearing a highly visible hearing aid. The good news is that with these recent technological advances, hearing aids are smaller and lighter than ever before. You've no doubt noticed that many recent advances in electronic technology have been all about miniaturization--putting functionality into smaller and smaller devices. This is very much true of digital hearing aids. You can now get digital hearing aids that are very comfortable to wear, work very well, and are unobtrusive.

To learn more, contact a company like Beltone Hearing Care Center with any questions or concerns you might have.

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