What should you and your patients expect from amplification?
Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing. The benefit derived is directly correlated to the auditory system’s ability to acclimate to the sound it is receiving.
What is the difference between the modern digital instruments and the previous analog hearing aids?
- Digital instruments are more sophisticated.
- Digital instruments are getting closer to mimicking the natural way the cochlea perceives sound.
- A computer chip allows advanced fine-tuning so that optimum hearing across the spectrum of frequencies can be achieved.
- Feedback control is addressed electronically allowing more volume to be utilized without the ‘squeal’ of the analog instruments.
- Background noise can be reduced electronically without reducing speech levels.
- Numerous adjustments are available to compensate for fluctuations in hearing.
- Multiple memories accommodate personal lifestyles by allowing up to four memory settings for specific listening environments.
- Digital instruments automatically adjust to environmental changes making it simpler for the elderly to wear.
- Digital instruments are designed to make soft and average sounds audible while keeping loud sounds comfortable.
- Analog instruments have limitations.
- Most manufacturers are phasing out analog instruments.
- Analog hearing aids amplify sounds equally regardless if the speaker is whispering or speaking loud.
- Few adjustments can be made in the office.
- Reduction of background noise is very limited.
How does digital distinguish between background noise and speech?
The program in the computer chip is able to recognize the difference between steady state noises and speech, which is a random sound.
The program can also analyze sound thousands of times per second and manipulate the sound to enhance the patient’s hearing in that environment.
How are digital hearing aids programmed?
Digital hearing aids are programmed using computer software and other specialized equipment. During the initial fitting process, a specific algorithm manipulates the sound according to the results of the evaluation. Post fitting adjustments allow amplification to be more accurately tailored for the best possible match to the patient’s listening and life style needs. Testing is performed to ensure the hearing aids are providing optimal benefit.