Analog vs Digital... What Kind of Hearing Aid Is Best

Hearing aids amplify sound so their wearers can hear better. There are two main types of hearing aids, analog and digital. The early ones used analog technology, and were little more than volume controls.

More advanced digital hearing aidss arrived towards the end of the 20th century. They were an improvement because they enhanced the quality of sound too. We consider the question what kind of hearing aid is better in this article, and conclude the answer is usually, but not always digital.

Lining Up and Comparing Analog vs Digital Hearing Aids

An analog hearing aid adjusts the volume of sound reaching our eardrums, as if we were cupping our palms behind our ears. It can also quieten it down as happens when we put our fingers in them.

When comparing analog vs digital it’s important to know a little about the technology. Hang in there while we keep it as simple as possible.

Analog Hearing Aid Technology

Analog hearing aids have microphones that pick up sounds and change them into analog electronic signals. They amplify these signals before converting them back to acoustical signals and sending them down the ear canal at a louder volume.

How a Digital Electronic Hearing Aid Works

Digital hearing aids work the same way at the front and back of the process. However, something different happens in the mid phase, after they turn the sound waves into binary code.

That’s because the ‘brain’ inside the hearing aid manipulates this data to refine, not merely amplify the quality. After that, the data converts back to an acoustical signal that travels down the ear canal to the ear drum.

Which of These Two Systems Is Better for the User?

The answer depends on how you intend to use your digital or analog hearing aid. Analog ones were developed to replace ear trumpets and the like. However, they are only marginally cheaper than digital hearing aids, so it’s more a case of the technology being past its use by date. But they do still have their uses.

Becoming hard of hearing is an irregular process. High pitch sounds may be almost inaudible, whereas lower pitch ones are as clear as ever. An analog hearing aid increases the volume of all sounds equally. This is not a good idea in a noisy restaurant when we are trying to hold a conversation.

An electronic hearing aid adjusts the quality of the sound mix to allow for these differences according to its program. That’s why, if we are hard of hearing a digital hearing aid will be best for us.

However, if we have normal hearing then a personal sound amplifier (PSA) can be handy in some situations. Examples include:

  • We want to watch television late at night, but we need to keep the external volume low so we don’t disturb others
  • We are nature lovers who enjoy exploring the outdoors and hearing and spotting tiny birds with low volume chirps 
  • We are big game hunters stalking African buffalo that move amazingly quietly through tall grass so as not to give themselves away.

Comparing Digital and Analog Hearing Aids – A Summary

We’ve been on quite a romp with all this technology! We’ll bring the strands together in a table to make the options easier to compare. Then we’ll tell you what to do next if you have decided to give digital hearing aids a try, now you understand the difference.

Analog Hearing Aids

Digital Hearing Aids

Apply conventional electronics to convert sound to electrical signals and amplify them

Use a microcomputer to change sounds to binary code and manipulate them

Some versions are programmable. However most only have user settings

May be pre-programmed for average mild to moderate hearing loss, or customer need-driven

May allow for personal preferences in different environments

May have pre-set or programmable adjustments for a range of circumstances

Increase volume sounds across the range without discriminating

Suppress noisy background sounds to make conversations easier to follow

Dated Technology

State of art technology


Source: NHS Royal Free London Hospital

What to Do now You Know What Kind of Hearing Aid Is Best

If you have mild to moderate hearing loss and want to hear conversations better, then you are on the right page. Blue Angels Hearing sells digital hearing aids for people in that space.

We decided to leave out the frills that people seldom need, and may never use. Because we want to sell hearing aids real people can afford. Our policy of supplying pairs of digital hearing aids for under $200 works a treat, and we’ll include shipping in that bargain price.

We offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, although we never hear from 99% of our thousands of customers again. This feedback is proof positive our digital products work well for people who are hard of hearing.