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Digital hearing aids have transformed the lives of millions. Read on to find out what are the benefits of a digital hearing aid.
Ask any of your friends and family, and the likelihood is that they will view a hearing aid as an unwelcome concession to the relentless passing of time and the onset of old age. Many people with hearing problems will put off a visit to the doctor for fear of being saddled with a cumbersome and complicated hearing aid. However, the reality is very different: thanks to modern technology, a hearing aid can now be sleek, simple to use and incredibly effective. Gone are the large hearing aids that required continuous tuning and careful management, and in their place are digital hearing aids – smaller, more intelligent, and revolutionizing the whole concept of recovering your hearing ability. In this guide we explain what are the benefits of a digital hearing aid, and why it is a significant improvement on the old fashioned analog hearing aid.
Hearing loss, in its simplest form, means that the vibrations caused by sound waves aren’t reaching the brain. There’s a huge number of reasons for this, but one of the most common is sensorineural hearing loss. This is where the hair cells or auditory nerve inside your ear have become damaged, and the vibrations (or the signals that they are converted to) are not communicated to the brain. This type of hearing loss most commonly happens simply with age, or it may be due to an accident or excessive exposure to very loud noise.
A hearing aid is a small device that amplifies noise. It’s worn in or next to the ear, and is made up of a microphone to pick up the outside noise and convert the sound waves to an electrical current, an amplifier to increase the size of that current, and a speaker which sends the amplified sound to the ear of the wearer. Old-fashioned analog hearing aids simply boost all the sound waves, meaning that everything gets louder. This can be a nightmare in a situation where you need to be able to ‘tune in’ to some noises but ignore others, such as in a busy restaurant. While this kind of hearing aid has a number of settings, allowing the wearer to change the amplification according to their environment, they can be a hassle and not always that accurate, so that is why we are exploring what are the benefits of a digital hearing aid.
You might be wondering what’s better about digital hearing aids compared to analog hearing aids, so here we explain what are the benefits of a digital hearing aid. The best hearing aids are digital, because they are able to perform a much more complex analysis of the sound waves they receive. The sound is converted to digital signals and, in that split second while it is being amplified, the microchip in the device is able to decide what is background noise and what you actually need to hear. It does this all in a tiny fraction of a second! Each aid is tailored specifically for the wearer, with the wearer’s hearing loss and typical situations all pre-programmed in by an audiologist. The digital hearing aid is then able to react to different situations, adjusting its settings to amplify some sound frequencies and not others, making it one of the best hearing aids for sale.
Another benefit of digital hearing aids is the improved sound and feedback reduction. A digital aid is able to convert digital signals back into clearer sounds, making the whistling and interference that can be common with analog hearing aids a thing of the past. Digital aids can also be programmed to focus on a specific direction, in cases of specific hearing loss.
Now that you know what are the benefits of a digital hearing aid, you might be thinking this kind of sophisticated technology sounds expensive, but actually there is a range of affordable hearing aids which are digital. Many people have already changed over to a digital hearing aid and are benefitting from it right now. When you are looking at hearing aids for sale, try reading hearing aid reviews and use that information to help determine the best hearing aids which you should buy. Try not to go for the cheapest digital option, as these may not be the most suitable for you. For example, an entry-level digital aid may have one or two bands, which could be less effective than a good analog aid. A decent digital hearing aid will start from four and go up to 16 frequency bands. For a mid-range hearing aid, you should expect to pay around $4,000 for a pair; this can go up to $8,000 or more for a pair of top-of-the-range digital aids, so it’s best to check out hearing aid reviews if you don’t want to spend too much money but want to find a pair of affordable digital hearing aids that are rated well. Unfortunately, most insurers do not cover the cost of hearing aids, but your investment is a good one to make – a digital aid is easily reprogrammable, so if you find your hearing worsening, then the same aid can be changed to accommodate that.
To get the most out of your investment in a new hearing aid, first of all, find out what your price quote covers to ensure you receive affordable hearing aids. It should include the initial examination, the consultation on your device and the fitting time, as well as any adjustments and follow-up checks made after the initial fitting. Make sure your aid has a trial period – this can be anything from 30-60 days, and is particularly important if you are wearing an aid for the first time, as it may take some getting used to. Also, a hearing aid is only as good as the audiologist programming it – look for recommendations on hearing aid reviews. Practice with your audiologist before you leave with your new hearing aid. Finally, your aid should have a warranty for at least a year, including the cost of any replacement batteries during that period.
If you need a cheap digital hearing aid and price is the number one consideration, it is worth looking at financial help. If you are a veteran then you could be eligible for a VA loan, and there may be local charities offering help in your area. Looking at the return on investment can also be a useful way to look at the cost of your hearing aid – if you work out the daily cost of your hearing aid, based on the overall price and the times you need to wear it (every day for most), then it may be less than other luxuries that you consider to be essentials, such as cable TV or a daily coffee. The price of living without a hearing aid can be high – a study by the Better Hearing Institute in Washington found that household income can reduce as much as $12,000 per year through untreated hearing loss.
As few as one in five people who need a hearing aid actually wear one, according to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). If you struggle to hear people’s speech, find yourself asking others to repeat their words all the time, or need the TV or radio at a much higher volume than anyone else, then it may be worth getting your hearing checked out. Even if you have minor hearing loss, a hearing aid could help improve your day-to-day life.
By reading our guide on what are the benefits of a digital hearing aid, you now know it’s relatively easy to find affordable hearing aids, so if you think you need one then don’t put it off.
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