What does DIGITAL mean in digital hearing aids?
Most hearing aids share several similar electronic components, including a microphone that picks up sound; amplifier circuitry that makes the sound louder; a miniature loudspeaker (receiver) that delivers the amplified sound into the ear canal; and batteries that power the electronic parts.
Hearing aids differ by:
- technology used to achieve amplification (i.e., analog vs. digital)
- special features
Analog hearing aids process sound in a continuous wave. This means quite simply that sound passes through an analog amplifier unbroken. It may get a little bent as it changes from sound waves to electrical waves and back again, but it retains the flow of the original sound wave. Hearing aids remained almost unchanged from 1940 until 1993. Sound quality got better and the parts got smaller, however, the way they worked was unchanged. Analog hearing aids are good at boosting volume but they do very little to help reshape and control sound in a way that provides needed flexibility by the hearing impaired.
The first commercial digital hearing aids were introduced in the late 1990’s, these hearing aids work just like computer music. Computerized music, CDs, mp3s, etc all take sound and break it up into little bites (bytes) of information stored as a mathematical equation. The digital computer in the hearing aid can then add or subtract values from those little equations. When the computer puts the numbers back together sound has been altered. Ideally, in a manner that improves your ability to understand speech.
The use of digital technology makes it possible to combine many special features into the rather small hearing instruments. Most common features are advanced automatic directional microphones, noise suppression system, trainable hearing aids, Environmentally Adaptive Hearing Aids but there are many more. For trials of any brand of hearing aid, please call 07 5443 8993 for SUNSHINE COAST or 33785999 for BRISBANE