I hadn’t really noticed that I had a hearing problem. I just thought most people had given up on speaking clearly.
~ Hal Linden
Yes, I wear hearing aids. No, you don’t have to yell at me!
Hearing aids have come a long way from those vintage ear trumpets that made people look more embarrassed and were awful appendages as equipment. No pun intended, but these hearing aids actually amplified the plight of the person with hearing loss. Fast forward, and the new age digital hearing aids promise to make the hearing power normal and better.
A visit to Kenneth Berger Hearing Aid Museum at Kent State University, Ohio would be an eye-opener to a heartrending problem faced by many people over the years. Hearing loss presents many emotionally taxing problems that can ostracize a person from his/her peers, and make life difficult. Hearing aids, over the years, have evolved from the outright queer to highly utilitarian.
In the museum, one would find hearing aids in the categories of pre-electric, transistor, hybrid era, electric vacuum tube, electric carbon and digital. The historical exhibits consist of over 3000 hearing aids and a host of audiometers that were used to test the hearing power of patients.
The museum houses exhibits like Clarvox Lorgnette trumpet, Hawksley Auricle, Otophone 2D and many other primitive forms of hearing aids from which we have traversed a long distance.
Now, hearing aids work in a much more efficient way and are based on the latest scientific and technological advancements. Hitherto, hearing aids used to work by amplifying the sounds and making them audible to the patient with hearing loss. With changing technology, the approach now is quite different.
Digital hearing aids work on the principle of converting sounds into binary code and then, the information is manipulated by a processing chip in the instrument. Hearing aids, today, have features like noise reduction, digital sound streaming, and anti-feedback control.
The world of good that has occurred due to digital technology in the front of hearing aids has certainly helped millions of sufferers to overcome hearing loss. They help people in listening to sounds in various circumstances including conversations, listening to music and using a smartphone. Some digital hearing aids even change modes automatically to match the listening situation.
Since all hearing aids don’t fit each patient, there are different types of hearing aids. One complaint of all people who wear hearing aids is that they get a constant whistling sound, which is called a feedback. This is addressed by wearing a hearing aid with an anti-feedback feature.
There are hearing aids with multiple memory settings that allow the hearing aid to work appropriately in situations like social gatherings, while driving a car, while listening to music and for using a phone.
Directional microphones are also available in the product range of digital hearing aids that allow the person to listen to sounds from a specific direction.
With all these latest innovations, people can get a hearing problem treatment confidently and without hesitation. After all, hearing is one of the most important senses that tune us to the world around.