Digital Hearing Aids
To understand what digital hearing aids imply you need to understand how analogue hearing aids work. Analogue Hearing aids consists of three main parts (very simplified). You have the microphone/s, which picks up the sound and converts sounds waves into electrical signals, You have an amplifier that makes these signals larger (louder) and then you have a receiver or speaker that converts electrical signals coming from the amplifier into sound which is then delivered into the ear canal.
A digital hearing aid adds a analogue to digital converter after the analogue microphone that converts the electrical signal coming from the microphone into a digital signal consisting of numbers. The amplifier is then replaced by a computer chip which can multiply these numbers to make sounds louder or divide then to make the representation of the sound softer. Like a computer chip many more things can be done with these numbers very quickly, meaning digital hearing aids have now far surpassed older analogue hearing aids as far as what they can do in regards to directionality, noise reductions, signal processing, compression etc. Once the signal has been processed the digital signal is converted into electrical signals by the digital to analogue converter before being delivered to the receiver, which then converts the signal into sound the brain can understand.
Digital hearing aids first appeared in 1996 with the release of the Widex Senso. At that time digital hearing aids were essentially no more capable than analogue hearing aids of the time, which were at their prime. By 2001 most major manufacturers had digital hearing aids available and the technology started to surpass what was available using analogue technology. By 2004 almost all hearing aid manufacturers has digital hearing aids available. Today you find it extremely difficult to even find an analogue hearing aid. Today’s hearing aids would have required an analogue hearing aid as large as a bedroom to even start offering the same features and even then it would have been too slow.
The unavailability of analogue hearing aids is problematic for a small ground of severely hearing impaired people who have grown up using analogue hearing aids as their brain expects a certain sound quality, whether it be good or bad. Fortunately at the hands of a skilled audiologist, these people can be weaned off the older technology to enjoy the significant benefits offered by digital hearing aids.
Digital hearing aids are designed to replicated what a normal ear does as well as technically possible. This is not to say digital hearing aids will ever give someone normal hearing, but they come as close as we humanly can. Digital hearing aid technology allows us to now have technology such as extreme noise cancelling, Bluetooth compatible hearing aids, hearing aids that talk to each other and completely automatic hearing aids.
Not all digital hearing aids are created equally, some digital hearing aids are sold online as inexpensive options, but their technology can be up to 7 years behind current technologies. As you are aware, any computer technology only has a shelf life of about 2 to 3 years, so make sure you choose the latest digital technology. Some manufacturers also have much more capable computer chips available than others, meaning a lot more can be done with certain hearing aids than others. So it is vital that your audiologist has a large range of digital hearing aids available, so they can choose the right set of features to best suit your hearing loss.
Value Hearing has one of the largest range of hearing aids available in Australia. Our audiologists have experience in a great number of digital hearing aids as they fit many more hearing aids per clinician than the industry average due to our unique business model. They also receive extensive training from the hearing aid manufacturers. To ensure that you are getting the very best that your advanced digital hearing aids can offer, our audiologist use the latest hearing aid fitting and verification equipment and technigues. All this ensures our clients are as satisfied as we can possibly get them. We however, don’t rest on our laurels, we continue to innovate and improve to keep ahead of the pack.
You can discover our low prices on digital hearing aids here or why not get an obligation free comprehensive hearing test done by one of our audiologists who will provide you with quotes on the most relevant digital hearing aids for you.