Today's world is always connecting and communicating digitally. When we are in our homes we are tuned in to digital TV, media and sound systems. We even drive with GPS systems, so why shouldn't our hearing aids offer digital solutions?
The purpose of this page is to give you some background knowledge of the current digital hearing aids on the market and to answer the most common questions on this topic.
There is now a huge selection of digital hearing aids available on the market today that compliment, not just different levels of hearing loss, but deliver connectivity needs and enhance lifestyles. Digital hearing aids pair with smartphones and interact with other Bluetooth devices within our homes.
They offer bespoke hearing experiences and allow you to take charge of your hearing aids, so you gain from personalisation and a wide range of health benefits. We are now in a time that is benefiting greatly, as good hearing is linked to increased quality of life.
Wondering what the difference is between analog hearing aids and digital hearing aids? Well, before the industry introduced digital hearing aids, there were only analog devices available. In terms of sound signals, analog hearing aids were constant and uniform in flow. This meant that the layers of sound were missing - unlike digital hearing aids.
Another digital and analog hearing aids difference is for analog hearing aids to adapt - the volume had to be turned up, making your hearing experience more uncomfortable. Background noise reduction was not possible either, without turning up the volume.
So, are digital hearing aids better than analog? Well, in short - yes. Digital hearing aids incorporate sound signals that change and are unique, which ultimately introduces a more natural-sounding speech and audio including depth and variation. This means you can personalise how you hear the sound around you, due to all the digital features available.
When you embark on choosing the right hearing aid for you, there any many variances to consider. Here are a few examples (and in no particular order):
The audiological requirements of digital hearing aids
There are different types of hearing loss that require different hearing aid fitting strategies. It is important that the hearing aids have sufficient reserve amplification so they will last for several years – not just one or two. We would say that five years is about right.
This above all else determines the cost of the hearing aid. The higher the technology, the higher the price. This has nothing to do with the severity of the hearing loss, it’s about how well you want to be able to hear.
Some hearing aids have accessories that can be purchased. These include wireless transmitters that enable the sound from a television or telephone or another device to “beam” sound into the hearing aid. The need for certain assistance by way of accessories can heavily influence the choice of make/model of hearing aid required.
As a general rule of thumb, the larger the hearing aid the more powerful it is. Smaller hearing aids have smaller batteries which could be difficult for people with poor dexterity. Smaller batteries don’t last as long.
There are many different styles of hearing aids. The two main categories are ITE (in the ear) and BTE (behind the ear). BTE’s are becoming increasingly popular as they can be extremely small and cosmetic. Here is a list of the breakdown of all the different types of digital hearing aids available on the market:
So, what do digital hearing aids cost? The biggest stumbling block to seeking help with hearing loss is the cost of digital hearing aids. They are an investment, especially when most people need two hearing aids but the improvement in the quality of life they give is priceless. Digital hearing aids price does vary depending on manufacturer, style, technology, connectivity, level of hearing loss and much more.
Over the last few years, there have been some outstanding hearing aid technology developments. Innovations such as advanced sound processing and frequency responses, faster Bluetooth connectivity and compatibility.
Other advantages of digital hearing aids are the rise of digital hearing aid apps and remote assistant features, quick and convenient rechargeable options and artificial intelligence that learns in real-time. With that in mind, here are some of the advantages of digital hearing aids currently available in the industry:
Turning up the volume in traditional hearing aids made hearing experiences screechy in various environments. Digital hearing aids allow you to customise your hearing accessibility for more comfortable listening.
Digital hearing aids can be paired with smartphones, tablets and other digital wireless devices. Connecting you to the world via streaming and entertainment. You can discreetly control the sound you hear and your digital hearing aids volume and features at the touch of a button, via your smartphone apps.
The style of digital hearing aids has evolved over the years and now come in smaller casings and offers discretion for the wearer - sometimes almost invisible!
What are the different types of Bluetooth hearing aids? To find out more about Bluetooth hearing aids, how they work, Bluetooth hearing aids for iPhone, Bluetooth hearing aids for Android and Bluetooth hearing aids for Any Phone - Read our Bluetooth information page here
What manufacturers make digital hearing aids? Below are links to the digital hearing aid manufacturers we have available and the main brands within the industry:
Digital hearing aids never usually get collected from your own home or even recycling points, but you can sometimes send them back to the hearing aid manufacturer, donate them or send them to charity.
Other places include: Your local GP, NHS audiology department and private audiologist.
So, do digital hearing aids need batteries? In short, yes they do - as do all technical devices. Hearing aids use different sizes of batteries depending on the technology features and size of the device.
Modern-day hearing aids have lithium-ion batteries and rechargeable options available, so no need to replace your batteries - simply charge and go!
Digital hearing aids, as a rule, can last from three to seven years - however, we do advise that you visit your audiologist after three to check that your hearing needs haven't changed or that there is more beneficial technology out there for you.
This is subjective as it all generally depends on how well you maintain your hearing devices, the quality of the device and the 'wear and tear' of the product.
The most impressive advancement in the audiology industry was when digital hearing aid technology was introduced. Oticon was the first hearing aid manufacturer to launch a fully digital hearing aid back in 1995.
Do not spend hundreds of pounds without getting a second opinion from us.
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.