Hearing Aid Technology Digital Signal Processing
Without a doubt one of the most enjoyable parts of being an audiologist is watching how hearing aids improve the quality of life for adults and children alike. The American Academy of Audiology, recently commissioned an extensive four year study to conclusively document and analyze how hearing aids improve the quality of life for hearing impaired individuals.
The study found after much research and data review that: Hearing aid use improves adults health related quality of life by reducing psychological, social and emotional effects nerve deafness, an insidious potentially devastating chronic health condition. Even with the conclusive undeniable fact that hearing aids can and will improve a person’s quality of life, many physicians and hearing impaired people will not try hearing aids because of the negative opinion that hearing aid(s) don’t work.
In some cases that is true, if the instrument is not fitted properly or the wrong instrument is chosen by the dispenser, hearing aids can be a disastrously unsuccessful venture. However, with today’s digital hearing aids and with the degree of expertise an Audiologist acquires through schooling and education more and more people are hearing the benefit of hearing aids.
Hearing, and hearing aid technology, has advanced very rapidly with the advent of what’s known as Digital Signal Processing. DSP is what you’re purchasing when you buy a digital hearing aid. This digital processing is what the computer chip in a hearing aid does to sound once the sound enters the hearing aid via the microphone.
After the acoustic signal enters the hearing aid it is changed or transduced by the computer chip into a series of complex mathematical equations. These equations become a digital language the computer in your hearing aid uses to re-create sound into your ear based on your individual hearing loss.
Also, this advanced Digital Signal Processing allows the hearing aid to selectively amplify sounds based on settings determined by your Audiologist. Here is an example: Digital hearing aids have noise reduction capabilities which are perhaps the greatest advent available in today’s hearing aid technology.
Simply put, the hearing aid can determine if sounds are speech or noise, and then suppress those sounds which are determined to be background sounds that can have a negative impact on speech understanding!
These are just a few of the wonderful features available with new digital hearing aid technology and the technologic advancements of DSP.
If you have any questions about your hearing or hearing aids, contact our office and we will be happy to test your hearing or demonstrate the above mentioned Digital Signal Processing features for you.