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What is the difference between analog and digital hearing aids?

An analog hearing aid is a device that is designed to amplify all sounds the same way: continuous sound waves are made louder. That means that speech and noise are amplified in the same manner. A volume control wheel allows the user to increase or decrease volume as needed; however, this can become cumbersome and tedious when in a complex listening environment. Analog hearing aids are becoming less and less common.


A digital hearing aid is a device that uses a computer chip to convert sound waves into a digital signal. This results in more complex processing of input sounds. The computer chip is able to recognize and analyze speech versus background noise, resulting in clearer sound quality. Additionally, the signal is processed according to input volume. A loud sound is treated differently than a soft sound. Soft speech is made audible while loud speech is kept comfortable. Features are also available that help reduce background noise and wind noise while maintaining speech audibility.


Our clinics offer a range of digital technology. Our audiologists help each patient understand their options and the differences between the digital technology that is available at our clinics. The audiologist helps each person find what is best for them. 


Anna Grashoff, AuD, CCC-A, FAAA

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