As more and more people have gravitated toward digital hearing aids and moved away from analog hearing aids, it has been found that the digital options do truly have a number of advantages that their analog counterparts do not. Some of the advancements and advantages associated with hearing aids that are digital include:
- More comfort – One of the main annoyances for wearers of analog hearing aids is the discomfort that results from high intensity sounds. Those who use digital aids have found that this discomfort has been nullified for the most part. The reason for this is because digital aids have an input signal-specific band dependence, more channels and knee pints with lower compression thresholds. This leads to a greater level of satisfaction among users because it reduces the intensity of environmental sounds and microphone noise that is commonly annoying to those users who have used analog hearing aids.
- Digital feedback reduction – There are feedback reduction systems that are so advanced that they are able to monitor for feedback while the user is wearing the hearing aid. When this occurs, moderate feedback is eliminated through a cancellation filter that is included in the hearing aid. People that bother them during jaw movement or when they are in close proximity to noise can benefit from this common feature of digital hearing aids.
- Digital noise reduction – This feature of digital hearing devices is able to reduce noise gain that comes in the form of low frequencies or in specific bands. Although there have been studies done with digital noise reduction aids that show that the effectiveness of these systems is mixed, experts agree that they can be effective at working to improve speech recognition as long as the noise is non-fluctuating.
- Digital speech enhancement – These systems are effective at increasing the intensity of certain segments of speech. The digital speech enhancement technology is new in hearing aids and, as a result, its effectiveness is not completely known. Case studies are still being performed to find out how effective this speech enhancement is among users.
- Directional microphones – Although there were some bumpy roads that had to be traveled in developing this technology, the use of directional microphones in hearing aids is now well-established. In fact, when these microphones are used with DSP, the benefit may even be enhanced.
Before too long, there is a good chance that hearing aids which use digital technologies will completely replace analog hearing aids. However this is not likely to occur until the price for hearing aids that are digital decreases a little more.
In addition to this, there are still some bugs being worked out of certain aspects of digital technology. Many users of hearing aids do not want to volunteer to be test patients while the bugs are worked out. For this reason, many have decided to forego using digital aids until the time comes when they feel the devices can be relied upon to work effectively. Because of these high expectations associated with the use of digital hearing aids, manufacturers are constantly trying to make new advancements which would make these more attractive to potential buyers.