Living with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be especially challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear some of your relatives, the discussions you do want to indulge in can be stressful. And because most 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 engage 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 situation that can make you feel detached and excluded.
Short of making everyone repeat themselves or staying silent, what are your choices?
Truthfully, 10 years ago you didn’t have many. Older analog hearing aids could amplify speech—the trouble 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 person you were talking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, modern hearing aids have two features that can save your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise suppression
Earlier analog hearing aid models were in reality very straightforward devices. They consisted of a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was obtained by the microphone, amplified, and sent through the speaker to the ear.
The drawback was, of course, that the hearing aid couldn’t distinguish between vocalization and background sound. The amplifier made every sound louder, so unless you were in a tranquil environment, you had a tough time hearing voices.
Since holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you ultimately need is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is exactly what modern digital hearing aids can accomplish.
Digital hearing aids, on top of containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also include a digital processor. As a result, sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to distinguish between various kinds of sounds.
By distinguishing and marking different kinds of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with targeted properties, such as all of the frequencies you have trouble hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily identified and suppressed.
Along with restraining background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a distinctive characteristic in that it is composed mainly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between conversation and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
What’s more, digital hearing aids have what are referred to as directional microphones, which can detect the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted directions, like the direction of the person you’re speaking to.
Book Your Hearing Test and Enjoy the Holidays Again
Are you ready to get back your holiday season?
Give us a call today and we’ll assist you to select among the amazing digital hearing aid technology available to you. 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.