Living with hearing loss throughout the holiday season can be particularly difficult.
While you may actually prefer to NOT hear a few of your relatives, the conversations you do wish to engage in can be stressful. And because most large holiday events 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 blaring in the background. This creates an impossible situation that can make you feel detached and left out.
Short of forcing everyone to repeat themselves or staying silent, what are your options?
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. Since all sound was just made to be louder, it didn’t help a great deal with understanding the people you were in conversation with.
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 suppression
Earlier analog hearing aid models were actually very straightforward gadgets. They contained a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker. Sound was picked up by the microphone, amplified, and sent through the speaker to the ear.
The challenge 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 setting, you experienced a difficult time hearing voices.
Since holiday parties are anything but quiet, what you ultimately require is a hearing aid that can differentiate between sounds—which is precisely what contemporary digital hearing aids can do.
Digital hearing aids, besides containing a microphone, amplifier, and speaker, also feature a digital processor. That means sound can be transformed into digital information that the hearing aid can utilize to distinguish between various kinds of sounds.
By identifying and marking different kinds of sounds, modern hearing aids can be programmed to amplify only sounds with selected properties, such as all of the frequencies you have difficulty hearing. Background sounds, in contrast, can be easily recognized and repressed.
In combination with suppressing background sound, modern hearing aids can also identify and focus on speech.
Speech has a distinct property in that it is made up of principally of high-frequency sounds. This makes it simple for the digital processor to distinguish between speaking and background noise, which is mostly low frequency.
On top of it, digital hearing aids have what are known as directional microphones, which can locate 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.
Schedule 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 help you choose among the amazing digital hearing aid technology on the market. After that, 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.