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Digital Hearing Aids With Analogue Sound

When researching the subject of hearing aids and in particular which would be the right choice, I most often hear people say that you must go for digital ones. They are almost certainly right in most cases but try asking them to explain why and you’ll hear an interesting variation of interpretations. So what are digital hearing aids and why are they ‘better’?

Well let me start with something they are not. They are not a means of creating digital sound to be transmitted to the user. They do use digital sound processing but do not produce digital sound. If they did then you would hear nothing at all. Human ears (and all ears) are only capable of ‘hearing’ and interpreting acoustic energy waves.  Perceivable sound is transmitted in the form of these waves; digital sound is transmitted in the form of 0’s and 1’s and needs a processor to decipher. Unless we ‘plug’ ourselves directly into the source and the brain develops the skill of deciphering all the 0’s and 1’s into a sound picture, digital sound is if no use whatsoever in improving our ability to hear.

So what does a digital hearing do that makes it (mostly) better than its analogue equivalent? Digital hearing aids receive an acoustic energy sound input and convert that into digital sound in order to apply a set of processes to that sound before converting the now processed sound back into an acoustic format and transmitting that via a receiver into the ear. The benefits of digital sound processing are mostly the increased ability to break the sound source down into smaller parts and apply different levels of amplification and suppression to different parts of the sound picture. The result is a more accurately tailored sound output than is traditionally achievable through analogue processing. Certain features of digital hearing aids were simply not possible with their analogue equivalents and as a result, they have become known as ‘better’. This is compounded by the fact that broadly speaking, digital technology is perceived to be better than analogue across most technology platforms.

As a consequence, we only feature a range of digital hearing aids at HearingDirect. Furthermore, this week we launch our Home Trial, which means anyone can try a digital hearing aid for themselves for just £4.99 P&P. See what difference digital hearing aids could make for you or someone you know for less than a glass of wine in some pubs!

One thought on “Digital Hearing Aids With Analogue Sound”

  • all very well but what about the people working in the sound production and music industry. many of us are unable to use digital, as we are unable to put up with the automatic compressors and limiters. Yes you can have them set to linear, but the limiter cannot be removed as it it set in the hardware. we don't want hearing aids that are clever and dictate what we can hear, we just want basic with good quality. many analogue hearing aids could do this before they got discontinued. plus we don't like being told what is good for us, we are able to make that decision for ourselves.