Dealing with hearing loss during the holiday season can be particularly challenging.
While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear a few of your relatives, the conversations you do wish to indulge in can be stressful. And because nearly all large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be close to impossible to concentrate on any one person or conversation.
If you wish to participate in conversation, you have to cope with background music, people talking simultaneously around the table, and the Thanksgiving football game blasting in the background. This creates an impossible scenario that can make you feel detached and left out.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or remaining quiet, what are your choices?
It’s true, 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. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help much with understanding the people you were conversing 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 reduction
Older analog hearing aid models were actually very simple devices. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was detected by the microphone, amplified, and transported through the speaker to the ear.
The drawback was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between voices and background noise. The amplifier made all sounds louder, so unless you were in a quiet environment, you had a tough 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 contemporary digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, in addition to containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also feature a digital processor. That means sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can use to differentiate between various kinds of sounds.
By identifying and marking different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with targeted traits, such as all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, on the other hand, can be easily identified and silenced.
In combination with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.
Speech has a unique property in that it is composed principally of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to distinguish between speech and background noise, which is predominantly 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, like the direction of the person you’re conversing with.
Book Your Hearing Test and Appreciate the Holidays Again
Are you ready to get back your holiday season?
Give us a call today and we’ll guide you to choose among the extraordinary digital hearing aid technology on the market. Then, 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.