Struggling with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially difficult.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your relatives, the conversations you do want to indulge in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be nearly impossible to concentrate on any one person or dialogue.
In order to engage in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This produces an impossible scenario that can make you feel detached and excluded.
Short of making everyone repeat themselves or remaining silent, what are your choices?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the issue was that they also amplified everything else, most notably background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the person you were in conversation with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, modern hearing aids have two features that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise reduction
Older analog hearing aid models were really very simple gadgets. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.
The drawback was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between voices and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you experienced a tough time hearing voices.
Because holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you really require is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is precisely what modern digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, besides containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also feature a digital processor. That means sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can utilize to differentiate between different kinds of sounds.
By identifying and designating different kinds of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with targeted properties, including all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily identified and suppressed.
Along with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a distinctive trait in that it is composed primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to distinguish between conversation and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in specific directions, like the direction of the person you’re speaking to.
Schedule Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again
Are you ready to get back your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll guide you to select among the extraordinary digital hearing aid technology on the market. After that, with your new hearing aids—complete with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll be able to hear all of the conversations with comfort and clarity.
As for the relatives you don’t want to hear? Not to worry, the hearing aids also come equipped with an off button.