Dealing with hearing loss during the holiday season can be particularly challenging.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear a few of your family members, the conversations you do wish to take part in can be stressful. And because most large holiday gatherings tend to be loud, it can be nearly 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 scenario that can make you feel isolated 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 issue was that they also amplified everything else, including background noise. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the people you were talking to.
But hearing aids have changed, and for the better. In particular, modern hearing aids have two features that can salvage your holiday season: background noise reduction and speech focus.
Background noise reduction
Older analog hearing aid models were essentially very simple devices. 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 drawback 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 environment, you experienced a challenging time hearing voices.
Because holiday gatherings are anything but quiet, what you actually need is a hearing aid that can distinguish 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. As a result, sound can be translated into digital information that the hearing aid can make use of to differentiate between various types of sounds.
By identifying and marking different types of sounds, today’s hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with selected attributes, including all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily recognized and repressed.
In addition to restraining background sound, contemporary hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a special feature in that it is composed chiefly of high-frequency sounds. This makes it easy for the digital processor to differentiate between conversation and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
In addition, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can locate the direction of sound. Some hearing aid models can even aim the microphones in targeted directions, such as the direction of the person you’re conversing with.
Book Your Hearing Test and Enjoy the Holidays Again
Are you ready to get back your holiday season?
Call us today and we’ll help you select among the incredible digital hearing aid technology available to you. After that, with your new hearing aids—complete 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.