Coping with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially difficult.
While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear some of your family members, the discussions you do wish to participate in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.
In order to engage 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 situation that can make you feel isolated and excluded.
Short of making everyone repeat themselves or staying quiet, what are your options?
Truthfully, 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 a great deal with understanding the person you were talking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern-day 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 actually very simple gadgets. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was acquired by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.
The trouble was, however, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between vocalization and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you experienced a hard time hearing voices.
Because holiday events are anything but quiet, what you actually need is a hearing aid that can distinguish between sounds—which is exactly what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, combined with containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also incorporate a digital processor. That means sound can be converted into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to differentiate between different types of sounds.
By distinguishing and marking different types of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with special qualities, including all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be conveniently recognized and silenced.
Along with suppressing background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a distinct trait in that it is composed primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between conversation and background noise, which is principally 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 with.
Reserve Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again
Are you ready to reclaim your holiday season?
Give us a call today and we’ll assist you to choose among the incredible digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, with your new hearing aids—outfitted with background noise suppression and speech focus—you’ll have the ability 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.