Over the last few years, there have been many exciting changes in hearing technology. Today’s hearing instruments are not the same as the ones your parents or grandparents had. One of the main differences is the latest digital hearing aids.
It used to be that the only hearing instruments available were analog, but now there are hearing aids that use digital technology. Both types are available, although analog ones are becoming less common. They both have similarities: microphones to pick up sound and the ability to amplify sound with a receiver that delivers sound into the ear. The difference is with the technology used to amplify the sound.
Analog hearing aids amplify sound by making it louder. They use transistors in a circuit to increase incoming sound. Changes to the sound are made via the volume control, and some models have basic programming ability. Advantages of analog devices are that they often cost less than digital and sometimes are more powerful.
Digital hearing aids convert sound waves into digital signals, generating a precise duplicate of each sound instead of merely amplifying it. Digital hearing instruments contain a digital signal processor chip, and the technology allows more complex sound processing. Digital hearing aids may have improved sound quality in certain situations. They can amplify speech, while reducing unwanted background noise. On the other hand, analog is less able to differentiate sounds.
Digital instruments are programmable and more adjustable for different environments and needs. Digital devices are programmed easily in the provider’s office. The newest technology allows wireless connectivity for use with telephones, televisions, MP3s and other electronics. Some also come with Bluetooth capability. Some Digital hearing aids are smaller, fitting inside the ear canal and are barely visible. One of the main drawbacks of digital hearing devices is the higher price, as compared to analog. While digital apparatuses are more popular, newer technology may not be for everyone. Some longtime hearing aid wearers, who are used to using analog, prefer to stick with them.
Analog and digital hearing aids both have their advantages and drawbacks. Which one you choose depends on your hearing needs and budget. The hearing specialists at Sandia Hearing Center can help you determine which type of hearing devices are best for you and your situation. For more information, call us at 719-634-6260.