Like all other forms of technology, hearing aid technology has benefited immensely from the digital revolution. And just in time: the huge Baby Boom portion of the population is now approaching the age when the need for a hearing aid may be drawing near. Another group that may benefit are those who have had the occasion to make industrial deafness claims and are suffering hearing loss.
The days of uncomfortable, conspicuous hearing aids are quickly fading. Advanced microprocessors that process the audio signal are more miniaturized than ever and completely hidden ITC (in-the-canal)units are virtually undetectable.
Unlike old analog hearing aids, digital hearing aids typically incorporate several different listening programs. There are pre-set programs for environments with little background noise and programs for noisy environments like a crowded restaurant. These can be very useful to help individuals who’ve made industrial deafness claims socialize normally. Units may automatically change programs or they can be manually selected by the individual. Some digital hearing aids have listening programs that are “smart” enough to recognize human voices while canceling out the particular audio frequencies of the background noise.
When using older analog aids to compensate for hearing loss, the volume control was a basic up or down adjustment. The same level or “gain” was produced by the hearing aid for all sounds. This required persons with industrial deafness claims and other causes of hearing loss to continually make manual adjustments to compensate for variations in the sound level. New wide dynamic range compression technology in today’s hearing aids self-adjusts to the changes in noise level and conditions. The technology in the hearing aid increases the gain for the quietest sounds while simultaneously reducing gain for the loudest sounds. This creates a more natural, balanced sound environment for the use and eliminates self-adjusting the hearing aid.
Some hearing aids today also incorporate Bluetooth connectivity. These models receive the wireless digital signals from Bluetooth devices such as cell phones, iPods or other home entertainment equipment directly into the hearing aid.