What is the Difference Between Analog and Digital Hearing Aids?

A hearing aid is an electronic device that helps to enhance certain sounds waves so that a person with hearing loss can listen with ease. A hearing aid helps people hear in both quiet and noisy situations. And hence, can participate in a more engaging manner with effective communication.

Hearing loss results from damage to the small sensory cells in the inner ear, also known as hair cells. A hearing aid basically magnifies sound vibrations entering the ear, the surviving hair cells detect these vibrations and convert them into neural signals that are passed along to the brain.

Digital Hearing Aid Components

So, How Does Hearing Aid Works

Hearing Aid has 3 Major Parts.

Microphone– Converts sound waves to electrical signals and these signals are then sent to the amplifier

Amplifier– Upon receiving the sound waves, it increases the power of the signals

Speaker– Amplified signals are then sent to the ear through the speaker

A hearing aid primarily contributes to improving the hearing and speech comprehension of a person who has suffered hearing loss.

Let us quickly glance through the differences between analog and digital hearing aid.

Analog Hearing Aid

The analog hearing aid converts sound waves into electrical signals, which are then amplified. These hearing aids are customized as they are programmed by the manufacturers depending on the specifications or the inputs received from the audiologists.

Analog Hearing Aid

Analog hearing aids can also be programmed as per the needs from a small quiet room to a crowded open space such as a theater or a stadium. A programmable circuitry is used in all types of hearing aids.  The analog hearing aids are less expensive over the digital aids, as the later have some extended advantages.

Digital Hearing Aid

A digital hearing aid converts sound waves into numerical codes before amplifying them like the binary codes of a computer. It can be programmed for certain frequencies over others depending on the sound’s pitch or loudness.

Digital Hearing Aid

Digital circuitry is advantageous over the analog circuitry as it gives more flexibility to a user to adjust listening in various environments. Digital circuitry imparts more flexibility in adjusting the aid to a user’s needs and listening in certain environments. Digital circuitry can be used in all types of hearing aids for enhancing certain soundwaves coming from a particular direction.

So, in a nutshell the digital hearing aid has following features:

  • Enhanced background noise reduction
  • A better fit
  • Better control of whistling sounds or acoustic feedback
  • Improved programmability

Additionally, the digital hearing aids have a longer life span over analog hearing aids.

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