Digital hearing aids vs analog hearing aids: Which one is better?


Digital hearing aids vs analog hearing aids: Which one is better?

@ Earsmate

Perhaps you have thought about getting a hearing aid, but you are worried about whether the hearing aid will meet your needs. Nowadays, you can find both digital hearing aids and analog hearing aids on the market, both have the function to amplify the sound, but they convert the electrical signal in different ways. The following information may be helpful to you.

What is the hearing aid?

The hearing aid is a small but powerful electronic device. It is powered by a battery and consists of three important parts: a microphone, an amplifier, and a speaker.

1.     the microphone: to pick up sound in your environment and convert it into a signal.

2.     the amplifier: to increase the power of the signal to make the sound louder.

3.     the speaker(receiver): to send the amplified sound into your ear.


Hearing aids are worn behind or inside the ear to carry sound from the environment into your ear and make the sound louder. Not everyone with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids.

Most of the time, they are for people who have damage to their inner ear or the nerve that links the ear with the brain. If your hearing loss is caused by problems with the ear canal, eardrum, or middle ear, and you have an open ear canal and a relatively normal outer ear, hearing aids may be helpful.

Some people are born without an external ear or ear canal, which means they can not use a typical hearing aid, however, they may be able to use the bone conduction hearing aids to send sound to the inner ear through the skull.

How can hearing aids help?

Once the hair cells in the inner ear die, they cannot recover. This type of hearing loss is called sensorineural hearing loss. This kind of damage may be caused by disease, aging, noise or certain medicines.

Hearing aids can significantly improve your hearing by amplifying the sounds, they can not restore your hearing, but they can help your hear more clearly and improve your ability to participate in conversations.

Hearing aids amplify the sound vibrations entering the ear, and surviving hair cells detect larger vibrations and convert them into neural signals to transmit to the brain.

The greater the damage to a person's hair cells, the more severe their hearing loss becomes, and they need hearing aids to provide greater amplification power to compensate for their hearing loss.

However, there are practical limitations to the amplification that hearing aids can provide. Therefore, if the inner ear is damaged too much, even large vibrations cannot be converted into neural signals, and in this case, hearing aids will be ineffective.

Hearing aids can be customized or programmed to meet the unique listening patterns of different people


For people with mild to moderate hearing loss, standard hearing aids are the most effective. The "power" model is usually used for people with severe to extremely severe hearing loss, as this can provide more power to treat severe hearing loss.

Hearing is a complex neural process that connects you to the world. Research has shown that the function of hearing aids is not only to amplify sound, but also to benefit the health of people with hearing loss, such as reducing loneliness, delaying the onset of dementia, improving quality of life and sense of security.

The working principle of a hearing aid depends on the electronic device used. The two main types of electronic devices are analog and digital.

What is digital hearing aids?

Digital hearing aids use digital signal processors to convert the electrical signals of sound into digital binary codes. Once the signal is digitized, it can undergo advanced processing to accurately adapt to constantly changing environments and your specific listening abilities. 

Digital technology makes it possible to precisely customize and process sound in a way that cannot be achieved with analog hearing aids. Digital hearing aids provide users with more functions and greater flexibility, including memory for storing specific environmental settings. They use directional microphones and complex algorithms to selectively detect sound and recognize background sound. This reduces irrelevant noise and eliminates feedback. Digital circuits can be used for all types of hearing aids.

Although digital hearing aid has a higher cost, it has good results, a smaller appearance, and powerful.

A brief history of digital hearing aids

The development of digital hearing aids began in the mid-1960s at Bell Laboratories, where digital computers were used to simulate experimental high-gain telephones, providing frequency shaping function for hearing loss patients. Offline simulation is approximately 100 times faster than real-time simulation. About 20 years later, real-time digital main hearing aids were developed using high-speed array processors. With the development of high-speed digital signal processing (DSP) chips, the development of wearable digital hearing aids has also followed. The first wearable digital hearing aid was a portable device that was not commercially successful. At this stage, CNC simulated hearing aids can be made small enough to be worn on the ear, and these instruments were widely used by the end of this century. In the 1990s, low-power DSP chips were developed, which were small enough to support the development of fully digital ear mounted hearing aids. The challenge today is to tap into enormous potential.

Nicolet began selling its first fully digital hearing aid in 1987, which was much larger than modern hearing aids and had a pocket sized processing unit connected to the device behind the ear through wires.

Nine years later, Widex developed a smaller and more practical digital hearing aid in 1996. From then on, the sales of digital hearing aids quickly surpassed those of analog devices. By 2005, digital hearing aids accounted for 80% of the hearing aid market share, and now almost all hearing aids are digital.Meanwhile,there are many famous brand of digital hearing aids company,such as the Phonak,Resound, Starkey, Earsmate, Oticon,Sonova etc..

More about the digital hearing aids

Digital hearing aids are made with original digital chips from USA,Japan etc., fitting for adults and seniors hearing impaired improving,including the OTC hearing aids, in ear hearing aids,invisible hearing aids,BTE hearing aids etc.

Advantages of digital hearing aids

The digital hearing aids offer a wider range of settings and functions, which may be difficult for new users to resist. In addition, compared to analog hearing aids, digital hearing aids may require more frequent adjustments and programming, which may be both time-consuming and costly for some people.These are some advantages of digital hearing aids:


1. Highly programmable to meet your specific listening needs.

2. It will automatically adjust according to your listening situation, which is flexible and easy to adjust.

3. It is much better than analog hearing aids in reducing background noise.

4. Many come with additional features, such as wireless connection to phones, laptops, and other devices.

5. There are small, concealed styles available.

6. Using precision amplifiers makes long-distance listening easier.

7. Multi channel technology and better amplifiers can better hear consonants.

8. There are two microphones that allow users to focus on specific speakers in the group.

Disadvantages of digital hearing aids

1.     More expensive. In addition, some insurance plans may not cover the cost of digital hearing aids, which makes it more difficult for individuals to afford.

2.     More battery is required to operate. More frequent battery replacement or charging may be necessary, which may be inconvenient and costly. Some digital hearing aids also require special batteries, which may be more expensive than standard hearing aid batteries.

In terms of sound quality, digital hearing aids have significant advantages over analog hearing aids. Digital hearing aids have advanced noise reduction capabilities that can help filter background noise and enhance speech, making them more effective in noisy environments. At the same time, they use advanced signal processing technology to provide a more natural and realistic sound experience. They can also more effectively amplify specific frequencies, which can help hearing loss patients better distinguish between speech and other important sounds in the environment. If you want to hear clearer, more authentic sound, or have frequent conversations with people, digital hearing aids are suitable for you.

What is analog hearing aids?

The analog hearing aids amplify all sounds, including speech and background noise, by increasing the volume of continuous sound waves. Just like microphones connected to speakers, they use continuously changing electrical signals to produce sound. Better quality simulated hearing aids use automatic gain control to compress sound. This limits the volume of larger sounds while keeping smaller sounds loud enough to be heard. Some also have programmable settings that allow you to change hearing aid settings based on the loudness or quietness of the environment. These settings are usually adjusted through volume controls, physical switches, or buttons on the device.

A brief history of analog hearing aids

Analog hearing aids were developed in the early 1900s using the same technology as Alexander Graham Bell when he invented the telephone. By converting sound waves into electrical signals and amplifying them, and then converting the amplified signals back into sound waves, it is used to improve the user's hearing.

Advantages of analog hearing aids

1. Usually cheaper than digital hearing aids, more affordable.

2. Not requiring too much electricity to operate, some analog hearing aids can last up to two weeks with a single battery.

3.  Long term users of hearing aids prefer them because they are accustomed to the sound and function of hearing aids.

4. Easy to use.

Disadvantages of analog hearing aids

1. Limited or non-existent sound filters force you to hear every sound around you, including sounds you don't want to hear.

2. The volume needs to be carefully adjusted as they can sometimes cause loud screams.

3. The number of controllable standards is limited, therefore, fine-tuning the sound transmitted to user is limited.

4. Having only one microphone makes it difficult to participate in conversations in noisy environments.

5. Due to the occlusion effect, the wearer of a hearing aid is trapped in their own ear canal, and some people believe that hearing their own voice is an unbearable experience.

6. There are many electronic components that consume a lot of power and require frequent maintenance.

7. It may be difficult for people to hear sound from a distance, especially when the sound comes from behind the hearing aid user.

8. Incompatible with mobile phones, always producing a buzzing sound.

How to use hearing aids ?

Your right hearing aid is usually marked with a red indicator, while the left hearing aid is marked with a blue indicator. Their purpose is to distinguish them, as they are specifically designed to fit that ear and each ear has a series of different programming.

Please ask for help from your audiologist when necessary.

When you put the hearing aid into your ear, you can gently pull down the earlobe and back to help open and straighten the slightly curved ear canal, simplifying the process. If you have a back of ear or in ear hearing aid, you can choose according to personal preference: you can first insert the inner ear part, then flip the other component onto the ear, or do it in the opposite way. You should work directly with your audiologist to practice inserting and removing hearing aids until you feel comfortable to ensure they are worn correctly. If worn improperly, it may have a negative impact on the performance of hearing aids.

Most hearing aids have buttons on the outside that you can press to control the volume in different situations. Fortunately, many hearing aids now have additional Bluetooth controls that allow you to connect them to applications on your phone, where you can carefully adjust the volume.

Adapting to hearing aids may take some time, especially when you have become accustomed to listening in some way for a long time. Don't wait until needed to wear hearing aids. On the contrary, you should often wear hearing aids in your spare time. The more sounds you hear in the environment, the better your brain can adapt to it. Even if it's just some household sounds, such as the buzzing of a refrigerator or doorbell, or the jingling of a microwave, your brain starts to adapt to these sounds. If you wait until you use them before wearing them, your brain may be overwhelmed by all external noise. 

Wearing hearing aids in a daily, quiet environment will help enhance your tolerance to everyday sounds and help your brain adapt to wearing hearing aids.

How to Buy the Best Hearing Aid For You ?

When you want to buy a digital hearing aid or analog one, the important thing is if it can help you to improve hearing loss problem and whether it conforms to your usage habits. Meanwhile, it is also important to consider whether the price meets your budget and whether the technology and functionality of the hearing aid are what you need.

“Hearing loss can be hardest on the people around you, so if your loved ones are getting frustrated with having to frequently repeat themselves, or because they notice you to be disconnected from conversation, it’s time to consider to buy the hearing aids,” Monika Sharma, AuD, an audiologist at Pacific Coast Hearing Care in Beverly Hills, tells Earsmate.

Do you want to know How to Buy the Best Hearing Aid For you or loves online? 

There are 5 tips that you can buy the best hearing aids.

1.The degree of hearing loss you have

2.The type of hearing aids you prefer

3.Your lifestyle

4.Your age

5.What is the hearing aid price you expected.

Digital hearing aids vs analog hearing aids: Which one is better?

While deciding between Digital and Analog technology, your decision should easily be in favor of digital hearing aids. Digital hearing aids maybe a little more cost and price, but they have far superior technology and better features, to ensure you have a much better hearing experience.
Features Analog Hearing Aids Digital Hearing Aids
Working Principle They convert sound into electrical signals that are amplified and passed to the ear phone on the hearing aid. They convert sound to digital signals (data) that are processed precisely by a tiny computer to sound.
They provide too much of amplification for loud sound and too little amplification for soft sounds. They provide just enough amplification so that soft, normal and loud sounds are clear and comfortable.
Noise They cannot discriminate between speech and unwanted noise. Hence they amplify everything. They suppress background noise so that speech is easier to listen to and understand, especially in noisy environments.
Battery Life They consume a lot of power, thus requiring frequent battery replacements. They are power efficient thus batteries last longer.
One's Own Voice One's own voice sounds uncomfortable, especially for children and elderly. One's own voice sounds better and comfortable. In case of children this helps improve speech quality.
Repair They are made up of several electronic components, hence is prone to frequent repairs. They are reliable and less prone to wear and tear.
Compatibility Mobile phones are not compatible with analog hearing aids and always produce a disturbing buzz sound.   Conversing on mobile phones is easier and clear with digital hearing aids. Some can even directly pair with your mobile devices.
CONCLUSION While deciding between Digital and Analog technology, your decision should easily be in favor of digital hearing aids. Digital hearing aids maybe costlier, but they have far superior technology and better features, ensuring you of a much better hearing experience.

Summary and suggestions

Compared to digital hearing aids, analog hearing aids have limited customization options. The sound amplification in analog hearing aids are based on simple circuits and cannot be adjusted to meet the unique listening needs of users. This means that analog hearing aids are not suitable for people with complex hearing loss or those who require precise sound amplification.

As we all know a significant advantage of digital hearing aids is that they can be highly customized according to the specific listening needs of users. With advanced programming software, hearing healthcare professionals can adjust various settings, such as volume, noise reduction, and frequency response, to optimize the performance of individual users' hearing aids. This means that digital hearing aids are suitable for people who like to customize and want a personalized listening experience.

In terms of reducing background noise, digital hearing aids are also superior to analog hearing aids. They use advanced algorithms to distinguish between speech and noise, and can selectively amplify speech while suppressing unwanted noise. This is particularly useful in noisy environments, and if you frequently enter public places or do not want noise to distract your attention, digital hearing aids are a good choice.

Overall, compared to digital hearing aids, analog hearing aids have some drawbacks. They have limited customization options, are more susceptible to feedback and whistling, and are less efficient in noisy environments. 

        •  However, for people with mild to moderate hearing loss who do not require advanced sound amplification or noise reduction functions, analog hearing aids are still an affordable choice. 

       •  For those who don't mind the high cost, want to improve the user experience, or have severe hearing loss, digital hearing aids are a good choice. 

       •  If you have been using analog hearing aids for a long time and now want to use digital hearing aids, you may need time to adapt, which is normal. 

A hearing aid that can help you listen and communicate as naturally as possible is the best.

At last but not the least, if you need any help for hearing aids products, or for hearing loss problem or hearing aids business,the Earsmate will be at your priority service anytime from China. Contact NOW!

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