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Listen to the Difference Between Analog vs Digital Hearing Aids

Hearing aids have been around a long time, and technology is varied. You've got a wide range of shapes, types of hearing aids, and sound qualities to choose from. If sound quality is a factor for you in deciding which kind of hearing aid to go with, you should understand the difference between analog vs. digital hearing aids. Continue reading to learn more about the differences between analog vs digital hearing aids.

How Do Hearing Aids Work?

Understanding how hearing aids work can help you decide whether an analog vs digital device is best for you. Sound travels in waves. When you amplify a sound, you increase the size of the sound wave. You maintain the shape of the wave, but make it much bigger. It’s the same vibrations — just amplified.

Hearing aids use a microphone to capture the sound, then use an electrical signal to amplify the sounds for your ears. Both analog and digital hearing aids are still widely manufactured, and advancements in both have come a long way over the last half-century.

Knowing the difference between the two can help you make the right decision for your ears and your lifestyle. Let's take a closer look at both analog hearing aids as well as digital hearing aids.

Analog Hearing Aids

Analog and digital hearing aids are not terribly different. Both types use similar components to do essentially the same thing: pick up sound with a microphone, then electronically amplify it for you. The factor that truly separates the two is how each amplifies the sound.

Analog amplification is the original technology for increasing volume; you can think of analog sound as the kind you get with vinyl records and cassette tapes, whereas digital sound what you get with CDs and mp3s.

In hearing aids, the signal is electronically boosted in a continuous recreation. Many analog hearing aids these days are able to smartly filter out background noise like traffic, airplanes, even ocean waves if you’re near a beach.

Analog hearing aids give excellent sound quality, but digital hearing aids help take the sound filtering and sharpness to new levels.

Digital Hearing Aids

If you need smarter filtering of noises and sharper recreations of sounds for separation and clarity, you likely need digital hearing aids.Digital hearing aids use a microphone and electronic signal just like analog hearing aids.

But where analog hearing aids merely increase the size of the original sound wave, digital hearing aids recreate the sounds in a digital reproduction of the sound wave. The benefits of digital sound are numerous. The main benefit is the digital sound can be manipulated, cleaned up, sharpened, and clarified for the wearer to a much greater degree than with analog sound.

This means you’ll be able to hear more of what you want to hear — and less of what you don’t. Settings can be further adjusted at will, so you can freely travel from a library to a noisy tavern and get the same sound success with the same set of hearing aids.

Digital hearing aids are opening the door to a wide range of new technological advances, such as the new "If This Then That" (IFTTT) solutions. One excellent example of a modern digital hearing aid is the Oticon OPN, which is a discreet hearing aid that uses BrainHearing technology to provide those with hearing loss the ability to best understand speech.

Benefits of Analog Hearing Aids vs. Digital Hearing Aids

Now that we've discussed both digital hearing aids and analog hearing aids, let's explore some of the benefits of each.

Benefits of Analog Hearing Aids

  • Analog hearing aids typically cost less.
  • Analog hearing aids can actually be more powerful than digital (louder in volume).If you’ve been a longtime analog hearing aid user, you may get more comfort in that sound quality.

Benefits of Digital Hearing Aids

  • Digital hearing aids tend to be more effective at filtering out background noise.
  • Digital hearing aids are less susceptible to rubbing and contact (as when speaking on a phone or hugging someone).
  • Digital hearing aids are likelier to work with Bluetooth technology.
  • Digital hearing aids are more adaptable to users’ needs and locations.

Contact North Shore Hearing P.C.

When it comes to choosing between analog vs digital hearing aids, it can be confusing. Fortunately, you don't have to do it alone. The experts at North Shore Hearing are here to provide professional advice and guide you to the best solution. We're your local audiologists and we offer a wide range of hearing solutions, including:

We can help you choose the best hearing aid for your needs to enhance your life. Contact North Shore Hearing P.C today.

Diane Faulknor, MA, CCC/A

After 18 years of experience in the field of audiology and hearing aid dispensing, I felt it was time to start my own practice which has led to the creation of North Shore Hearing, P.C. I take pride in the care I provide for my patients as hearing is not just a medical issues we need to deal with, but also the social and lifestyle ramifications that people with poor hearing live with on a day-to-day basis. Based on not only your hearing loss, but also the type of lifestyle you lead, we'll work together to fit you with the most appropriate hearing aid available in today's marketplace.