Living with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially difficult.
While you may honestly prefer to NOT hear a few of your family members, the discussions you do want to take part in can be stressful. And because most large holiday events tend to be loud, it can be virtually impossible to focus on any one person or dialogue.
In order to participate 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 isolated and left out.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or staying silent, what are your choices?
Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. The older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the problem 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 much with understanding the people you were talking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. Specifically, modern hearing aids have two functions that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise reduction
Earlier analog hearing aid models were in truth very straightforward gadgets. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was collected by the microphone, amplified, and directed through the speaker to the ear.
The challenge was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t differentiate between voices and background noise. The amplifier made every sound louder, so unless you were in a tranquil setting, you experienced a frustrating time hearing voices.
Because holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you ultimately require is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is exactly what modern digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, besides 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 use to differentiate between various kinds of sounds.
By identifying and tagging different kinds of sounds, modern 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 easily recognized and silenced.
In combination with restraining background sound, modern hearing aids can also recognize and focus on speech.
Speech has a special characteristic in that it is made up of primarily of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between speaking and background noise, which is principally low frequency.
In addition, 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 targeted directions, like the direction of the person you’re speaking with.
Reserve Your Hearing Test and Enjoy the Holidays Again
Are you ready to recover your holiday season?
Contact us today and we’ll guide you to select 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 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.