When hearing aids first came out, they were all analog. It was only in recent years that it became digitised. Analog hearing aids are actually becoming less and less common.
Analog & Digital Hearing Aids – The Similarities
In both analog and digital hearing aids, their function remains the same, which is to amplify sound waves for the hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea that send sound signals to the brain. Constant exposure and ageing are what cause wear and tear on the hair cells that causes electrical signals to transmit less easily as before, thus a hearing aid’s job is to help amplify the sound waves for the leftover hair cells to pick them up.
Both hearing aids utilise a microphone to receive and amplify sound
Both devices would normally run on battery
Both hearing aids have an amplifier and speaker
The microphone detects the sound in the environment
The amplifier strengthens the signal
The speaker supplies the sound to the wearer’s ear
The key difference is: in which how the two amplify sound (the way they amplify sound).
What Are Analog Hearing Aids Like?
Analog hearing aids work by receiving the sound waves and then amplifying them continuously. Analog hearing aids have a microchip, which helps to store program settings for different listening environments. These programs help the wearer to change the settings for different environments.
What Are Digital Hearing Aids Like?
Digital hearing aids on the other hand, work by converting sound waves into digital signals.
These digital signals are then processed and duplicated to make the sound even clearer for the wearer.
Which Should I Get – The Key Difference
The big difference other than the technology is the cost. With more advanced capabilities, they will definitely tend to cost more. Digital hearing aids come with more functions and are in general sharper.
Many analog hearing aids can amplify sound, but that also means that it amplifies environmental sound as well. Thus, if you are wearing it and are in a noisy environment, you will receive even the sounds that you do not want to hear. This can cause unnecessary stress to the hearer especially if the wearer would like to hear better over the phone in a noisy environment.
The Importance of Consulting a Hearing Aid Specialist
Digital hearing aids help to transform the sound into digital waves, and they help to separate sound and change the sound before amplification. This however will depend on how well the hearing aid consultant adjusts the sound.
When sound is being converted into a digital signal. The computer chip is able to identify and segregate the sounds into different frequencies. A high pitch sound can be tagged differently compared to a lower frequency background noise.
The hearing aid specialist is able to program the computer chip to amplify only the high frequency sound such as a person talking rather than amplifying the background noise.
Additional Benefits of a digital hearing aids include:
- More discreet looking (due to smaller computer technology)
- Stylish designs available, compared to old analog models
- Programmable – to suit different environments
- Can be adjusted further overtime – reprogramming can always be an option
- Easily customisable for the wearer
All in all, one should consult an experienced hearing aid provider if they are considering to get a suitable hearing aid for their hearing needs in Singapore.