Dennis Hampton, Ph.D
280 Mamaroneck Ave.
White Plains, New York 10605
(914) 761-4455

The Digital Revolution and Hearing Aids

The digital revolution is here, in computers, watches, telephones--and in hearing aids.

The improvements in hearing aid technology in recent years include the introduction of microprocessors, multiple channels, multiple microphones, digital processing, true noise filtering and feedback cancellation. Today's hearing aid sample the sound environment and automatically adjust to the sounds around you.

With these new instruments, we program the hearing aid, rather than simply adjust the hearing aid. Programming provides much more flexibility and control in the hearing aid fitting. For example, today's hearing aids can be programmed so that softer sounds are amplified more, while louder sounds receive less amplification or even no amplification at all. If you have more hearing loss for high-pitched sounds, the hearing aids can be programmed to provide more amplification for those sounds. And if there is a change in your hearing, the hearing aids can be re-programmed to fit your current hearing levels.

Several clinical studies have demonstrated that these new instruments provide improved speech understanding and are preferred over traditional hearing aids about 80% of the time.

What these advances mean to hearing aid users is:

· greater ease of use, since volume control can be completely automatic;
· better hearing for soft sounds, since these aids can provide greater amplification for soft sounds;
· greater comfort for loud sounds, because amplification can be reduced automatically as sound gets louder;
· improved speech clarity because of reduced distortion and a more accurate fit to each person's hearing pattern;
· better hearing in noise thanks to noise filtering and directional microphones.

But these improvements don't mean that all the problems of hearing loss have been solved. Understanding speech in noisy situations (such as a restaurant) is still difficult for someone with a hearing loss. (Remember that even people with normal hearing often complain about noisy restaurants.) Sounds that are too loud for other people will also be too loud for you.

Nevertheless, this is an exciting time for people with hearing loss because of the significant improvements in the hearing help they can receive. How much better are these new hearing aids? The best way to find out is for you to hear for yourself. Please call us for more information or brochures on specific instruments such as the Sonic Innovations Natura 2, GN ReSound Canta 7 or Oticon Adapto.