Introduction to Top Notch Hearing
When Digital Hearing Aids were first introduced in the mid 1990’s, it was widely believed and promoted that a new dawn in speech understanding had been achieved for the hearing impaired, but that lofty goal remained elusive. Hearing aid dispensers and audiologist from around the country quickly realized that there was more to hearing aid satisfaction than just precisely applied amplification. The same problems of occlusion, feedback, loudness sensitivity, and an inability to understand speech, particularly in noisy environments, were still prevalent. As a result, the need for several follow up visits was still necessary.
Gradually, as the technology improved and the hearing aid companies developed additional features and better strategies for hearing in noise, patient satisfaction scores increased. The features developed included:
- noise reduction
- voice activity detection
- feedback cancelation
- directional microphones
- open canal technology
- environmental classification
- speech enhancement
- wireless communication
In 2016, hearing aid companies began to introduce new, faster computer chips that more than doubled the processing speed (up to 500 million calculations/second). This increase enabled the hearing aids to accurately identify and enhance the speech, while simultaneously reducing the background noise. Previously, the hearing aid companies had to be judicious in the allocation of their processing power to specific features. For instance, one company would allocate most of its processing power to noise reduction, while another would focus on the performance of their directional microphones.
These faster computer chips resulted in the ability to sufficiently employ all the features simultaneously and dramatically improve most patients’ ability to understand speech in noisy situations.
In other words, hearing aids had just started to deliver on those promises from long ago!
These improvements also brought about other benefits. The need for so many follow up visits is a thing of the past. What used to be the rule, has became the exception! Better yet, however, for those of you who do require follow up adjustments, we can now remotely program your hearing aids. Instead of waiting days, weeks or months for an appointment and then having to get dressed and drive to the office, just get online and we are a few clicks away.