Hearing aid technology is ever-improving. The first form of hearing assistance that was effective to some degree was in the form of ram horn shaped amplifier used in Europe. This material was the predecessor for hearing technology which we have today. Even earlier than that, the first forms of hearing assistance were wooden ears that one would attach to their ears. It was believed that if these ears were attached and were designed in the shape of an animal with a strong sense of hearing, then the one wearing it would not suffer hearing loss or feel that they were deaf while wearing them. An important advance was the introduction of “digital” hearing aids. Unlike analog aids, digital hearing aids take sound and convert into a digital signal using a computer chip in the hearing aid. If your primary concern is finding the cheapest hearing aid possible, you might look into an analog hearing aid; they are less expensive than their digital counterparts. Just a hundred years ago if you suffered from hearing loss, any tool used to assist your hearing really could not help much but thanks to today’s modern technology such as computers, there is real help out there for those who need it.
Digital hearing aids, however, come with a vast amount of quality-of-life advantages: While analog hearing aids can only make sounds louder and can’t differentiate between them, digital aids can distinguish between speech and background noise. That means an increased clarity in conversation, less frustrating movies, parties and dinners, and an all-around increase in ability to distinguish sound well. Digital hearing aids are also programmable unlike the older forms out there, and come with a litany of exciting hearing options, from SoundRecover, which can transpose normally difficult-to-hear high frequencies to lower ones that can be hear more easily; to DuoPhone, which helps hearing loss sufferers using the telephone by automatically sending sounds to both ears. Not only that, but they work also with bluetooth technology; people who before could not use a cell phone now can have a conversation over the phone, something no one thought would ever be possible for anyone with hearing loss. This has been possible thanks to great advancement in computers and all of technology in society today.
Digital hearing aids work by converting sound-waves into binary code. A computer chip in the aid converts the sound into a digital signal before re-rendering it in the ear. Because of this, the sound can be manipulated more easily than in an analog hearing aid, which works primarily by enhancing the volume of the sound. Before this, sound would just be amplified and it would cause a large feedback sound as well. Not only was this bad, but it could possibly continue to even damage the ear as a result; thanks to the new technology, the feedback from the sound amplification is no longer such a problem as it was as early as ten years ago. It is really unbelievable how far technology has come in the last ten years. If you were to ask an audiologist (a doctor which specializes in hearing) or an ENT (ear, nose and throat) professional, they would tell you the same thing as well, just slightly more detailed. They may also discuss with you the surgical options that may be available to fix your hearing. A warning now: those are very high risk and if there is a problem during the operation, then it can not only be inneffective, but it damage your hearing further and possibly cause Tinnitus which is also known as ringing in the ears. If that happens, sadly there is no cure for Tinnitus and it will be permanent.
The only negative that can be brought up is that neither type of hearing aid is covered with insurance, primarily because hearing loss is so prevalent. If a high-quality hearing aid is your primary concern, you should strongly consider a digital version over an analog one. The technology is astounding. Digital hearing aids are far superior to the hearing aids and over time will become so great that no matter what hearing loss, it will help the one wearing the aid hear better than ever. Like most technology, digital is best and eventually the more old fashioned styles will end up in the trash or possibly in some museum someday in the future as relics of how humans tried to combat hearing loss. It will only get better for those who unfortunately suffer from hearing loss and must seek help for it. Perhaps someday they may even find a cure for the deafness that does not involve any evasive action such as surgery. Without such great technology, we would probably still be using useless methods that would only hurt our hearing more than it could ever help.