With breakthroughs in digital technology, digital hearing devices are becoming increasingly popular. As technology has advanced so too has the digital hearing instrument industry. With a digital hearing device, people once forced to live with a hearing impairment are now afforded the option of regaining a significant portion of their hearing. For those with healthy hearing it may not seem like much but for those afflicted it can affect their way of life significantly.
Digital signal processing (DSP) is a technology used to make a digital hearing instrument made for each individual patient. It uses sounds from the surroundings, and converts them into data formats and signals that the listener can interpret. Through a series of numbers and conversions, the tiny computer chip within the hearing aid takes on a form with which the person can identify.
The ability to re-convert sound waves numerically allows digital hearing aids to amplify speech and quiet loud and unwanted background noise. Because each individual has different hearing needs, and because a hearing impairment varies from patient to patient, audiologists are able to customize each digital hearing device according to what the listener interprets for different environments. This means that a patient can have their digital hearing aid programmed to pick up soft sounds, if that is where their hearing impairment lies.
Digital hearing aids also have the capability of “adaptive directionality.” This hearing aid technology allows the hearing aid to address sounds coming from various directions in a different manner. Someone wearing a digital hearing device with this type of technology can comfortably listen to someone speaking in front of him or her without having noises from behind interrupt the sound waves. This, in turn, maximizes speech quality in noisy places like restaurants, shopping malls, or grocery stores.
Digital hearing aids have also eliminated the problem of -whistling- or -squealing- by infiltrating adaptive feedback management into this type of hearing instrument. DSP, which helps tailor sounds for the individual, also allows for the microphone inside the hearing aid to minimize amplified sounds too. In older analog models, the sound wave returns to the microphone re-amplified, causing a -whistling- to occur.
With the technological advances in recent years, digital hearing devices are one of the benefits that have resulted from the digital world. With the DSP technology, many people who once suffered from hearing loss are beginning to realize the sounds that they have not been able to enjoy for a while. With researchers and doctors hard at work, there will likely be even more advances in the industry of digital hearing devices and instruments.