With continually advancing technology, it has become easier to take advantage of most electronic devices. With the push of a button or the flick of a switch, we’re able to enjoy a plethora of new and exciting experiences. Hearing aids are one of these many devices; the small electronic instruments amplify sound, allowing those suffering from hearing loss to lead more enjoyable lives.

Even though millions of Americans rely on hearing aids, it’s common to not fully understand how the small devices work. Hearing aids can be divided into two categories: analog and digital. Analog and digital hearing aids work differently.

Analog hearing aids

Analog hearing aids aren’t nearly as common as they used to be. Thanks to the evolving digital technology available today, most individuals are able to find a more advanced hearing aid in their price range.

Analog hearing aids work by converting sound waves into electrical signals. The electrical signals are then amplified. Analog hearing aids are created to an individual’s specific type and degree of hearing loss. These devices are programmed by a hearing healthcare professional. Analog hearing aids generally offer more basic features and a less-natural listening experience than digital hearing aids.

Digital hearing aids

Most hearing health specialists sell digital hearing aids these days. While analog devices convert sound waves into electrical signals, digital hearing aids convert them into numerical codes. The code is “attached” to information about the sound’s loudness, or pitch.

Digital devices are typically more easily and acutely tailored to an individual’s hearing loss needs, because the circuitry is more flexible to work with. Digital hearing devices can also be programmed to focus on sounds coming from a specific direction. Additionally, digital circuitry can also be installed in all types of hearing aids, though the advancements it has over analog technology will likely cost more.

What type is right for me?

The type and degree of hearing loss a person is diagnosed with will limit the scope of available hearing aids to choose from. However, it is also important to consider your lifestyle and the amount of money you’d like to spend on a device. As with most electronic devices, style and features will affect the cost of your hearing aids.

Therefore, you and your hearing healthcare professional will discuss what features are right for you and whether the benefits of digital technology are going to be most beneficial.