Most hearing aid users will tell you that digital is the way to go. Digital hearing aids offer some advantages over the old analog ones, and they are much more popular. The main difference between digital and analog hearing aids is that analog aids simply amplify sound. They consist of a microphone and receiver, and take outside noise and boost it to an audible level. Then, the sound is sent into the ear. Digital hearing aids actually have a computer chip inside that can do much more than simply raise the sound level. The computer chip takes the sound, analyzes it, and adjusts it to the hearer’s preferences.
While analog hearing aids are fairly limited in what they can do, you can buy programmable analog hearing aids, which offer more features. They compare quite well with digital aids, and differ mainly in the way that they do not use digital sound processing to manipulate the sounds.
New hearing aid technology is always improving on the old. Digital hearing aids sample the sound in the same way that digital audio technology does, and can produce better sound quality.
In addition, digital hearing aids can be adjusted for the user, bringing out certain frequencies more strongly than others. If, for example, you suffer hearing loss in high frequency ranges, a digital hearing aid can be programmed to boost those high frequencies.
By far, the greatest advantage of digital hearing aids is the flexibility. With digital, you can choose among a wide variety of special features to suit your needs.
With the old hearing aid models, if you had feedback or unwanted noise, you had to turn the volume down. This would get rid of the noise, but it would also lower the level of everything else. Digital hearing aids have made great improvements in control of feedback and unwanted noise. New models have noise reduction features which are much more effective than the earlier models.
A great feature that digital hearing aids allow you to use is the dual microphone system. This means that the device actually has two microphones. One can be set to pick up sounds that are directly in front of the listener, while the other picks up everything. Dual microphone systems have a switch so that you can go back and forth between a regular setting, and one that focuses on sounds coming from certain directions.
The old digital hearing aids were clunky and wasted batteries. The first models, which were introduced in 1987, didn’t sell very well because they needed so much power to run. Now, digital hearing aids have been streamlined. You can buy digital hearing aids in all the same styles: behind-the-ear, in-the-ear or in-the-canal.
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.