Q: My father purchased hearing aids 15 years ago, and he rarely wears them. He says they make the background noises too loud. He doesn’t join in any conversations anymore, since he can’t hear us. I’d really like to have my dad back. Would new hearing aids work any better for him?
A: What we call “hearing aids” these days are quite different from the hearing aids from several years ago. Older hearing aids were basically amplifiers – their job was to make sounds louder. The problem is that we don’t want ALL sounds louder. In contrast, modern digital hearing aids are essentially tiny computers programmed to emphasize speech. While it’s impossible to completely eliminate the background noise, today’s hearing aids are getting better and better at figuring out what you actually want to hear – emphasizing speech while de-emphasizing the background noise.
Answered by Dr. Matt Perry, Au.D. – audiologist and owner of Harmony Hearing & Audiology, located in Festival at Bel Air, 5 Bel Air S Pkwy, Ste. 1411, Bel Air, MD 21015 – (410)569-5999