Hearing aids have certainly come a long way since those first wooden devices from the 1500's. If you look at the history of hearing aids, you will find an amazing evolution of technology. In the 21st century, it seems almost everything has gone digital, and hearing aids are no exception.
With at least 22 leading manufacturers of digital hearing aids, it is safe to say there has been a massive increase of demand for high-quality products. Many companies are in the process of developing even better digital technology; some are working on fourth and fifth generation digital hearing aids.
The first digital hearing aids on the market came out in 1987. Because only two manufacturers supplied the digital products, and also because they were very large and used a substantial amount of energy, consumers were less than receptive to the new idea. Since the end of the 1980's, more advanced technology has increased the quality of digital hearing aids.
More recently, digital hearing aids have gained tremendous success. Because they are smaller and more functional, more and more audiologists are recommending them to their patients. New digital hearings aids are available in both behind-the-ear and inside-the-ear models. Though these models are rather pricey, consumers are eager to take advantage of the new systems and enjoy a better quality of life.
The functioning of digital hearing aids is similar to the older, analog versions. Experts suggest that it is impossible to completely separate the two from each other. Digital technology merely implies that sound waves that were previously captured in analog form are now converted into a string of numbers that creates more precise hearing functions. Experts say that the digitalized versions are not better simply because they are digital, but because digital technology enhances the process of converting sound waves.
Because of digital hearing aids, persons with auditory disabilities have the option of living a more comfortable life and the ability to hear the sounds of loved ones' voices. Assuming that technology continues to rapidly advance, it is likely we will see more digital advances in the not-so-distant future.