Tens of thousands of individuals around the world use hearing aids today. Many more hundreds of thousands need hearing aids.
However, many do not know whether they want, or need, an analog hearing aid or a digital hearing aid. Many do not know the difference between the types of hearing aids. Thus, this article intends to shed some light on the comparison of digital hearing aids vs. analog hearing aids.
Analog vs Digital Hearing Aids Features
Analog Features and Benefits
As less technologically complex, analog hearing aids are typically cheaper than digital hearing aids. The hearing devices have longer battery lives than their competitors and are often easier to handle. Analog hearing aids have fewer features, meaning they can be used immediately without much of a learning curve.
Although they have fewer features, many analog hearing aids do have programmable settings. Users can switch between different listening modes which adapt the hearing aids to different environments. For example, the wearer might be in a quiet, outdoor setting, versus in a busy, indoor setting with lots of people and sound.
Furthermore, many people who prefer analog hearing aids over digital hearing aids do so because they have what’s called a warmer sound. The amplified sound sounds clearer, more natural, and thus more pleasing. The reason analog hearing aids have this advantage is because the sound doesn’t go through digital processing. So, while analog hearing aids simply amplify all sounds, what’s heard is rich and natural sounding.
Analog hearing aids often come with a peak limiter. This means analog hearing aids limit how loud sounds coming through are. Thus, users don’t have to worry about turning the volume down if there are already loud noises around them.
Digital Features and Benefits
Digital hearing aids offer more complexity in comparison to their counterparts. Digital hearing aids function by converting sound into digital signals that are copied before amplification and signal processing occurs.
Digital hearing aids utilize computer chips to analyze all the incoming sounds, which allows for further processing to improve clarity and remove background noise. Thus, digital hearing aids have the benefit of producing a clearer sound.
Digital hearing aids offer other benefits as well. Typically, digital hearing aids provide greater customizability than analog hearing aids. Depending on the digital hearing aid used, individuals can customize the hearing aid to be used in various environments. As well, digital hearing aids often have volume control buttons allowing the user to change the amplification of the soundwaves.
The overall benefits of digital hearing aids include enhanced speech sounds, reduced excess noise, more programmable features. Additionally, digital hearing aids often remember programming, so hearing aids always offer the perfect settings for the owner.
Digital Hearing Aids vs Analog in Price and Performance
Analog hearing aids offer a more natural listening experience compared to digital aids. However, the best overall performance must go to digital hearing aids. Digital hearing aids have more capabilities thanks to improved technology.
The difference in price can vary widely, as recently the FDA approved over-the-counter hearing aids for sale. Since this announcement, many hearing aid manufacturers have sprung up and begun creating cheap hearing aids sold over the internet. Additionally, analog hearing aids have begun to fall out of fashion—not many companies continue to make them. Thus, digital hearing aids are more competitive in regards to price.
Digital vs Analog Hearing Devices
Available on Amazon, for only $54.50, this digital hearing aid comes with many great benefits. The hearing aid is a behind-the-ear hearing aid meaning a device is worn behind or on top of the ear with a tube feeding sound through the earphone into the inner ear.
This Britzgo digital hearing aid offers four different listening modes, a volume control button, and a unique design to fit either ear. The hearing aid also comes with more than 500 hours of battery life.
Another Amazon product, a pair of these analog hearing aids costs upwards of $780.00. The Simplicity Hi-fi is an FDA registered, analog hearing aid that amplifies quiet sounds only and lets loud sounds pass through the aid naturally—a unique feature for analog aids. This device uses analog circuity to produce a natural, warm sound preferred by many.
The device is designed to be discreet, comfortable, and worn by both sexes. This analog hearing aid comes with over 250 hours of battery life.
Both hearing aids are available for purchase without the need for an audiologist to assist in fitting. Both hearing aids offer discreet, stylish wearing. However, the digital hearing aid is significantly cheaper, has more features, and greater battery life. On the other hand, the analog hearing aid offers a warm, natural sound that cannot be replicated by digital aids.