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Digital Hearing Aids: Crunching The Numbers

Nov 22, 2007
What are digital hearing aids?

The earliest hearing aids, like standard telephones, employed analog technology. Digital hearing aids are not better than analog hearing aids simply because they are digital; the many features which digital signal processing allows manufacturers to incorporate into their hearing aids are what makes the digital hearing aids so impressive.

Digital hearing aids accomplish this by transforming sounds into a series of numbers, or "digits". The computer chips inside digital hearing aids then apply math formulas to the digits and "maneuver" them into controlling sounds that digital hearing aids wearers actually experience. Using computer chip technology, the digital hearing aids can pack a great deal of functionality into a very small area.

Features Of Digital Hearing Aids

Digital hearing aids are "smart." The digital signal processing used in digital hearing aids has been borrowed from the military and music recoding industries. Unlike analog hearing aids which convert sounds into electrical impulses which can be adjusted, to a point, to meet the needs of the hearing impaired person, the digital hearing aids can actually distinguish between voices and noise, and can be programmed to amplify voices while deadening "noise." Digital hearing aids provide much clearer voice transmission in the presence of background noise than their analog counterparts.

Digital hearing aids also offer a solution to the feedback, or whistling, which often accompanies analog hearing aid use. Analog users often solve the feed back problem by simply turning down their hearing aids, but this also decreases their ability to hear the things they want to hear.

Some digital hearing aids have been designed to "monitor' the sounds entering and exiting the hearing aids and determine whether or not they are feedback. If they are, the hearing aids will instantly cancel them.

Cost Factors

The prices of digital haring aids vary according to the technological features they offer. Even the low-end digital haring aids will provide great noise management, limited feedback management, and outstanding sound quality in ordinary situations. The most expensive digital hearing aids, however, will allow wearers to hear even the faintest noises, eliminate all feedback without a corresponding decrease in volume, and have a directional microphone which can be turned toward wearer's front, eliminating any surrounding noises.

If you are considering digital hearing aids, first consult an audiologist to determine the both the degree and cause of your hearing impairment, and the size and contours of r inner ear. If you have been using analog hearing devices, it may take some weeks for you to become fully accustomed to digital haring aids, and you'll have to be prepared to return to the audiologist during that time so he or she can make adjustments in your digital hearing aids' programming, until they are perfectly suited to you!

Digital hearing aids are popular with hearing aid users. Gradually, the old analog hearing aids are being phased out. Whether you choose digital or analog, be sure to get the hearing aid that suits your needs.
About the Author
You can also find more info on cover hearing aids and kinds of hearing. FirstHearingAids.com is a comprehensive resource for people suffering from hearing loss to get information on hearing aid options, prices and maintenance.
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