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What are Digital Hearing Aids?

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  • Written By: Jenny Rae Armstrong
  • Edited By: Lindsay D.
  • Last Modified Date: 26 October 2016
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Digital hearing aids are quickly overtaking their analog counterparts, and are well-recognized as the future of hearing aid technology. Whereas analog hearing aids translate sound waves directly into the user’s ear, simply amplifying the sounds picked up by its interior microphone, digital ones convert the sound waves into digital algorithms that can be adjusted to provide each user with a customized soundscape. This process is known as digital signal processing, or DSP.

There are many benefits associated with DSP. Digital hearing aids can boost and lower certain frequencies much more effectively than analog hearing aids, providing the wearer with a sound tailored to their individual needs and desires. They can recognize and filter out consistent background noise, and are made to be especially sensitive to the frequencies commonly used in speech. One of the main frustrations expressed by people who use analog hearing aids is that when they turn the volume up to hear soft sounds, such as a child’s voice, other sounds become uncomfortably loud. Digital hearing aids alleviate this problem.

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The most advanced models monitor for feedback in real time, and can filter out squeaks and squeals before they happen. Many of them can automatically calibrate their internal microphone as well, switching between directional and omni-directional modes to pick up the best sound quality available. Directional microphones have long been known to improve clarity, while omni-directional microphones give users the best representation of the sounds happening around them. With digital hearing aids, users can have the best of both worlds.

Digital hearing aids are available in the traditional over-the-ear style, but many nestle almost invisibly inside the ear canal. Surprisingly, they are are much sturdier than the analog varieties, and maintain their sound quality over time. Users appreciate the ease of use; the hearing aids make the necessary adjustments automatically, and the wearer doesn’t have to fiddle with them.

Digital hearing aids are quite a bit more expensive than analog hearing aids, and many people find the cost prohibitive. Others claim the enhanced sound quality makes them well worth the investment. Hearing aid companies are working constantly to improve the quality of their product, and it's reasonable to assume that as the technology becomes more advanced and is produced in greater quantities, it will also become more accessible. That will be music to everyone’s ears.

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anon320254
Post 3

One doctor told me I was going deaf. I have ringing in the left ear. It is hard to sleep with all this noise. It sounds like crickets chirping all the time. I am low income and can't afford hearing aids. I am on medicare and medicaid. I don't know if they cover this expense or not. Does anyone know if they cover hearing for low income people?

anon300940
Post 2

My fiancee is deaf in his left ear. It's a problem for him to work, talk on the phone and have a normal relationship. Is there a place that will help with a low cost hearing aid and if so the place I can contact.

anon221225
Post 1

Digital hearing aids are very useful in those who suffer from a hearing deficit. These digital aids are far better than the non digital ones. A person who is in need of these aids can learn how much do hearing aids cost from experts who deal in them.

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