Digital hearing aids are taking the place of the old standard of analog hearing instruments. With ever-changing and improving digital technology, hearing instruments are becoming quite the sophisticated piece of electronics! Unlike analog aids, digital aids are not solely focused on amplification, but also are customizable to each individual user. While digital aids at their base are a type of amplifier, they also can be tailored to suit the hearing loss needs, preferences of the user, and the user's lifestyle.
Since the creation of digital hearing instruments, technology has allowed for smaller, sleeker, more attractive, practically invisible designs to be created. Digital technology allows these small instruments to process sounds at great speeds while accounting for the user-specific programming. When a sound comes into the hearing instrument, the computer chip digitally converts this acoustic sound into an electronic number code. This code is easily manipulated, allowing for very specific fine tuning to each user's hearing loss. This coding also allows for very precise user-customization based on wants and needs of the patient. Specific bands, channels, and memories/programs can be altered individually, making for a hearing experience unique to each person.
Bands, in simple terms, are pitch ranges that can be adjusted. The greater the technology of each hearing aid, the more bands are available for modification. Alterations to these bands create very precise adjustments in pitch to suit each person's hearing impairment. Therefore, persons who experience decreased hearing that is greater in one pitch range than another (e.g., higher pitches have greater loss than lower or mid pitch ranges) will be able to have greater amplification in their areas of difficulty than in others.
Channels are ranges of pitch where compression settings (settings that limit a hearing aid from over-amplifying sound) can be adjusted. Once your hearing aid reaches a prescribed sound limit, it will no longer continue to amplify sound as much as it would at lower levels. This helps prevent damage and pain to your ear in the cases of suddenly loud noise exposure. For example, if your waiter dropped an entire tray of china in the floor, the volume would be kept at safe, more comfortable hearing levels.
Memories or programs can be created for each individual in many cases. Many modern hearing aids have programs or settings for different environments based on typical or specific daily life environments. Programs may need to be created for a variety of sound environments like, religious meetings, business meetings, quiet one-on-one time, theater, music, noisy situations, etc. These programs are created to suit each user's needs. Depending on the hearing aid and level of technology, a hearing aid may have 2 programs or 16 programs. Possibilities for these programs are unending. Changing programs is often as simple as a push of a button, and can even be made automatic. Your hearing healthcare provider will explain your specific programs, what your choices are, and will show you how to use this function properly!
If you are interested in the prospect of custom technology to suit your hearing needs, it is probably time to consider your digital options. Better sound quality awaits you! Call your hearing healthcare professional about your digital hearing aids today!
Cape & Islands Hearing Centers has served the Orleans, Massachusetts area and its surrounding communities for several years. We offer a full range of diagnostic and preventative hearing healthcare professional services, including hearing aid screening, evaluations, hearing aids sales and rehabilitative and preventative counseling. We are dedicated to keeping abreast of the latest improvements in technological advancements in the hearing industry and are committed to offering the most current options to our patients. For up-to-date hearing aid information visit Cape & Islands Hearing Centers.