Living with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be particularly challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the discussions you do wish to indulge in can be stressful. And because most large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be nearly impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.
If you wish to engage in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking all at once around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This produces an impossible situation that can make you feel detached and excluded.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or remaining quiet, what are your options?
Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the trouble was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Given that all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the person you were speaking with.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, the latest hearing aids have two functions that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Earlier analog hearing aid models were really very straightforward devices. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was collected by the microphone, amplified, and distributed through the speaker to the ear.
The drawback was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between vocalization and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you had a challenging time hearing voices.
Since holiday parties 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, along with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also incorporate a digital processor. That means sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can utilize to distinguish between different types of sounds.
By distinguishing and labeling different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with selected characteristics, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be conveniently recognized and silenced.
In addition to suppressing background sound, modern hearing aids can also recognize and concentrate on speech.
Speech has a distinctive aspect in that it is made up of chiefly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between speaking and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
On top of that, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even focus the microphones in specific directions, such as the direction of the person you’re talking to.
Schedule Your Hearing Test and Make the Most Of the Holidays Again
Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?
Contact us today and we’ll assist you to choose among the incredible digital hearing aid technology available to you. After that, with your new hearing aids—equipped 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.