Hearing Aids Technology and The Digital Advantage

Digital Advantage

Impressive technological innovation has been penetrating the field of ear sensitive restoration in the past five years. The different device models count up to several tens. The current “state of the art” is represented by the digital hearing aids technology, as expected. This, however, is not a too recent innovation.

The Two Main Types Considering Positioning

Hearing aids technology evolved to generate two main types of devices to be worn by patients. Under the generic names of CIC and BTE, the two categories represent the completely-in-the-canal hearing aid, which is tiny and invisible once placed correctly, and the behind-the-year range. Clinicians and consumers alike received well both types, thanks to the advanced signal processing and to the various features made to suit different conditions.

The Digital Technology Advantages

A computer chip inside the device makes incoming sounds transform into digital code, the data being then adjusted to the needs of the person and to existent noise in the environment. The first advantage is a gain in processing. Flexible processing schemes have the benefit of increased sound audibility, as far as the sounds of interest are concerned. The discomfort of high intensity sounds is avoided. Also, the clinician’s effort is reduced. A second advantage is the digital noise reduction. A reduction in specific bands improves speech recognition when non-fluctuating noise exists. Systems with speech enhancement also separate segments of speech and increase the relative intensity of some. This is a recent date feature and is mostly under development. Last but not least, signal-to-noise ratio is made better through directional hearing aids using DSP and directional microphones.

Digital Hearing Aids Used as Signal Generators

The present hearing aids technology is able not only to process, but also to generate sound. Current devices can test, filter, and obtain information that suits each individual, and the system can be tailored to every patient’s needs. Some hearing aids can work in pair with mobile phones, without the drawback of interfering, because they are able to capture signal from the phone and then act as signal generators, transmitting the communication sounds directly to the individual. Sound levels can be easily verified. Hearing aid accuracy is increased, and the need for external equipment is reduced. For the digital devices, the future possibilities seem to be endless. The analog counterparts may be left in the shade, but are still reliable. With the high-tech hearing aids, the expectations are sky-high. For this reason, patient counseling is essential. One such device can deliver the promised benefits if it is tailored accordingly, based on doctor’s thorough testing and observations, and if it is of high quality. Battery life plays an important role in how efficient and satisfying a digital hearing aid is.

Digital Hearing Aids – Not Always Superior

Devices making use of digital technology aren’t necessarily better than analog ones. The speech recognition and sound quality aren’t always superior. Most of the time, only the features and the enhanced processing make a digital hearing aid more beneficial. The main advantage usually lies in the advanced processing schemes.