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Digital Hearing Aids turn world into giant MP3 File
Old 12th September 2019
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Digital Hearing Aids turn world into giant MP3 File

I'm not sure about the accuracy of this article.

Digital technology may offer advantages in its ability to tailor amplification to a particular individual’s loss profile as well as the availability of programmed settings for different social situations, plus extra bells and whistles like Bluetooth and app-tracker options. What it cannot do is faithfully reproduce natural sound in a way that is subjectively satisfying and moving and true. As legendary musician Neil Young complained: “We’ve gained control, but we’ve lost the sound. The sound is gone.” (And if this recent New York Times article is any indication, he hasn’t changed his mind in the slightest.)

This is no slur against the technicians and engineers who design the aids: They are up against millions of years of evolution. Analog aids merely amplify existing sound—a more sophisticated version of an ear trumpet—such that there is no real interruption of the original acoustic wave. Digital aids, by contrast, pick up the sound, process it into binary digital information, and then reproduce the sound as a new wave using a built-in digital-to-analog converter. Digital devices thus have to re-create the activity that our brains and ears co-evolved for eons to perform. It is hubris to think that a few decades of research and development might not fall short.

I am well aware of the limitations of the old analog hearing aid technology: It was prone to feedback, and it did not always adjust well to different aural situations, such as crowded restaurants or large auditoriums with poor acoustics. In compensation, the user lived in a world that was saturated with sound, rich and crisp in detail. No amount of added Bluetooth connectivity or Fitbit trackers can change the underlying fact that the digital processor samples incoming sound at a rate far lower than that of an old CD player, effectively turning the entire world into a giant MP3 file. Children’s voices, fallen leaves, birdsong, the Beatles: All of these have been rendered and reshaped so that the listener perceives a wholly synthetic world.
I'm unclear if he is complaining about sample rates as CD players appear to rate ok, or if it is only analog hearing aids which are capable of producing natural sound.

A confusing article seemingly riddled with poor arguments.
Old 12th September 2019
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Holy ****!

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