Article by Jon Jacobson
As denizens of the 21st century, many of us cannot help but be marveled at the incredible advance of technology and its impact on all aspects of our lives. From the moment we wake up in the morning to the moment we go to sleep at night-and even in between-our lives are permeated by the formidable capabilities and applications of modern technology. Digital and electronic technologies in particular have got us all spellbound, as they are widely considered to be the most fascinating and cutting-edge fields of technology at present. Though it is certainly not the first example of such technology to pop into people’s minds, hearing aid technology has been presenting some very exciting and dynamic advancements over the last few years, and these rapid and successive developments have left a lot of people that actually suffer from a loss in their auditory perception feeling a bit lost and confused. To help these people navigate the waters of the very latest in such technology-technology that represents their best hope for recovery of at least some degree of their hearing-here we would like to touch on the most important aspects of recent developments in this exciting and fascinating field.
What people need to understand, beyond all the different brands and models of hearing aids on the market today, is that digital and electronic technology have made it possible to reduce the size of aids drastically-really drastically! Whereas our parents and grandparents were using hearing aids that plugged up their entire ear or hung outside it-or, even worse, connected via cable to an enormous clunky box clipped to their belt-these days we have the pleasure of using extremely compact and practically invisible hearing aids. What’s so special about that? Well, there are many benefits associated with the reduced size of modern electronic/digital aids: for starters, there is the simple issue of comfort; then, there is the fact that people don’t want to have an incredibly visible and bulky thing hanging on the side of their head. This is a lifestyle issue, yet it should not be taken lightly as the efficacy of a given aid is really going to be conditioned by the willingness of the person to use it, and if they feel uncomfortable in doing so then that’s a zero sum game.
Furthermore, there is the programmability of modern hearing aids to be considered-a benefit that takes the performance of aids way beyond anything they could achieve before. Programmable via computer, users can set their aid to filter out the sound frequencies that they can detect on their own, amplify the problematic frequency bands to the extent that is necessary given their hearing loss, and then can have different configurations established for different settings (indoor vs. outdoor, for example) that they can switch between with a simply click. This sort of dynamic employment of hearing aids is great news for anyone suffering from ear trouble, and hopefully such people will learn more about these developments and take advantage of them now as opposed to later.
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