Living with hearing loss during the holiday season can be especially challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the discussions you do wish to participate in can be stressful. And because most large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be near impossible to focus on any one person or dialogue.
In order to participate in conversation, you have to contend with background music, people talking all at once around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This creates an impossible scenario that can make you feel detached and excluded.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or staying quiet, what are your options?
It’s true, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. The older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the problem was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the people you were speaking with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, modern hearing aids have two functions that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Older analog hearing aid models were in fact very straightforward devices. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was acquired by the microphone, amplified, and transported through the speaker to the ear.
The drawback was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between voices and background sound. The amplifier made every sound louder, so unless you were in a tranquil environment, you experienced a frustrating time hearing voices.
Since holiday events are anything but quiet, what you necessarily require is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is exactly what contemporary digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, combined with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also include a digital processor. As a result, sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can utilize to differentiate between different kinds of sounds.
By distinguishing and designating different kinds of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with certain characteristics, such as all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be easily recognized and suppressed.
Along with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also recognize and concentrate on speech.
Speech has a unique property in that it is composed chiefly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to distinguish between speech and background noise, which is predominantly low frequency.
On top of it, digital hearing aids have what are called directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in specific directions, like the direction of the person you’re conversing with.
Schedule Your Hearing Test and Enjoy the Holidays Again
Are you ready to recover your holiday season?
Give us a call today and we’ll assist you to choose among the amazing digital hearing aid technology available to you. After that, with your new hearing aids—outfitted 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.