Modern digital hearing aid technology has come a long way in the past decade. Gone are bulky devices with constant feedback and whistling and in are sleek micro-computers for your ears.

The best digital hearing aids, like the Widex DREAM series, offer true-to-life sound in all listening situations. So whether you’re chatting in a noisy restaurant or listening to the birds sing on a summer day, digital hearing aids will help you hear like never before.

What are digital hearing aids?

Digital hearing aids consist of five main components: a microphone, an amplifier (or a signal processor), a microchip, a receiver (also known as a loudspeaker) and a battery.

While early hearing aids may have worked as simple amplifiers, digital hearing aids are basically tiny computers that process sound to make it as true-to-life as possible. 

How digital hearing aids work

Digital hearing aids work when their microphones pick up incoming sound and send it to the amplifier. The amplifier processes the sound, turning it from an analog signal into a digital signal. This is then sent to the receiver which then delivers the sound to your ear

  • MICROPHONE: The microphone is vital to the quality of the sound you hear. Most microphones are adaptive which means that they can assume either an omnidirectional or directional mode which will improve the audibility of the signal of interest depending on the listening environment
  • AMPLIFIER: The amplifier processes and strengthens the sound signal according to your individual needs and your hearing loss. It makes the sounds you hear recognisable without being distorted.  The amplifier contains most of the hearing aid’s electronic components and circuits in a microchip
  • MICROCHIP: The chip is the nervous system of the digital hearing aid. Despite its micro size, the chip is incredibly powerful and can handle everything from signal processing to wireless communications. The chip means that digital hearing aids can be smaller and use less power
  • RECEIVER: The receiver or speaker converts the electrical signal into sound and sends it to your ear. How much sound comes out depends on its size; therefore a severe hearing loss often requires a slightly larger hearing aid
  • BATTERY: The engines of the hearing aid, batteries keep the whole thing running. How much power a digital hearing aid uses varies widely depending on its size, the number of features and the ways in which it is used. Widex works hard to obtain the maximum use and power out of our hearing aids

Where to purchase hearing aids

Only a hearing care professional can determine which type of hearing aid is best for you. Visit our Shop Finder to find the hearing professional nearest you.

Digital vs. Analog hearing aids

The first popular hearing aids were analog hearing aids. While analog hearing aids still exist today, they have mostly been replaced by digital hearing aids.

There is a big difference between digital vs. analogue hearing aids, and it mostly has to do with how the devices process sound. Digital hearing aids convert incoming sound into digital signal and then process it before converting it back into an analog signal and sending it into your ears. This process allows for sound to be clearer and more true-to-life.

Think about when you are sitting in a noisy restaurant and trying to have a conversation with a friend. If you’re wearing analog hearing aids all sounds are amplified – your friend’s voice, the background music, the clinking of dishes, and the mumble of other diners’ conversations. But if you’re wearing digital hearing aids the experience is different. These devices will take all the sound of the restaurant in and give you only what you want to hear. Your friend’s voice will come through clear while the other background noises will remain quiet.  That’s because digital hearing aids are smart devices that are equipped with things like noise reduction, directional microphones, and feedback cancellation systems.
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