Hearing aids have changed over the years. In the past, you could only receive analog systems. However, today's technology has made the analog device almost extinct. Patients now favor the newer, better digital models.
The two devices are very similar. Both use microphones and amplifiers to pick up and amplify sound. They both include receivers, which deliver the sound inside the ear. Of course, both units run on batteries. The difference is in the sound-magnifying technology.
Digital Hearing Aids
Instead of simply amplifying the sound, these models convert sound waves into digital signals. Each device includes computer chips. These circuit boards analyze speech and other sounds. The device then produces an exact duplication of the sound. This process is far more complex than traditional approaches.
There are some benefits to going digital. These devices can reduce background noise in certain environments. They also have better programming options and can be tailor to your specific auditory problem.
Before purchasing a digital model, you want to make sure it is from a reputable manufacturer. Yes, there are cheap options available. However, by choosing an off-brand manufacturer, you may not get the most out of your device. Some of these manufacturers leave out the important components and programming that makes digital the prime choice for most consumers.
Analog Hearing Aids
When you choose analog, you are selecting the simplest device on the market. These systems work by making sound waves louder. They continuously amplify speech and other noise with little discrimination between the two.
Some analog devices are programmable. They will allow you to change settings for specific environments. For example, you can program the settings to work optimally in a quieter environment or a louder one. Once set up, you only have to press a button to change the settings. If you have never used one of these devices, there is a learning curve. Your audiologist will be able to help you program your new device.
While they are less discriminating between different types of sounds, these devices are cheaper and more powerful. Users who have been using hearing aids for a long time typically prefer analog devices.
Both analog and digital hearing aids have their benefits and their drawbacks. If you are looking for the simplest, cheapest option, you probably should stick with analog. However, the clearest sound will come from the digital models.
If you are still unsure of which type is best for you, you can consult with your audiologist. He or she can help you determine which one will work best for your specific auditory loss. He or she can also help you find one that fits your budget.