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Digital hearing aids

Today's digital hearing aids are very small and discreet and contain a microchip - a miniature computer that helps us tune and personalise your hearing aid to your individual needs.

This means you can have a conversation in a busy or windy place without hearing loud background noise. All the hearing aids that we prescribe at Amplifon are digital.

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Digital technology means that hearing aids are much smaller and less visible than older analogue devices. You can choose designs and colours to match your hair colour or skin tone. Some hearing aids are so small that you can barely see them at all.

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And they don't whistle. We programme hearing aids individually so you can:

  • Pick out speech from background noise
  • Automatically adjust the volume, depending where you are
  • Use them in a range of different situations, such as listening to music in your living room or playing golf on a windy course

Digital hearing aids are much more advanced than analogue aids. They contain a silicon chip comprising millions of electrical components that continuously process incoming sound, convert it into clearer and more audible sounds and then release these at the appropriate sound level into the ear. Their sophistication allows them to distinguish between sounds that need to be amplified and unwanted noise that needs to be reduced. This differentiation allows wearers to distinguish similar sounding speech sounds much more clearly.

Because they are much more advanced, digital hearing aids can be adapted to work with an individual's personal degree of hearing loss and lifestyle needs. They have a number of pre-set programs which can be used in different situations, such as quiet conversations, concerts, or at parties where there is a great deal of background noise.

The more sophisticated digital aids enable the user to watch the TV while taking part in conversations, locate where sounds are coming from, eliminate whistling and feedback while on the phone or hugging someone, and can link up via wireless technology to the TV, mobile phone, computer or stereo system.

Analogue hearing aids

The first electronic hearing aids were 'analogue' and some people still wear them.

Analogue hearing aids amplify sound - but that's all they do. They amplify all sound equally so that background noise is louder too. They can't help you distinguish between the sounds you want to hear and the sounds you want to cut out.

The microchip has completely changed hearing aids from the devices you may remember your parents and grandparents using.

If you are in your 60s, you may remember your grandparents wearing hearing aids like this

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or your parents wearing hearing aids like this.

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You may still think of hearing aids as big, cumbersome and available in two colours only - grey or pink. You may remember the embarrassment when someone's hearing aid whistled in church or at the theatre.