Dynamic Soundscape Processing
Although patient satisfaction with hearing aids has steadily increased over the past two decades to an all-time high of 83%1, the ability of hearing aids to improve the day-to-day functional capabilities of their wearers has additional room for improvement2. This is especially true in situations where background noise is present, as, according to one recent survey, better hearing in noisy settings was the number one listening preference of the 10,000-plus adult hearing aid wearers surveyed3. For the past twenty years, the two key features used to improve the ability to hear in noise are directional microphones and digital noise reduction (DNR). Both directional technology and DNR have proven to be successful in improving speech understanding in background noise.4
Signia has a strong legacy of clinically proven noise reduction technology, including the implementation of Directional Speech Enhancement (DSE), first introduced commercially in 2012. Recall that Directional Speech Enhancement shared knowledge between two features: adaptive directional microphones and digital noise reduction to optimize listening comfort and speech understanding in a variety of background noises. Relying on what was at the time an advanced signal classification system, DSE enabled the adaptive directional microphone and digital noise reduction to work together to reduce background noise more effectively based on spatial location rather than signal modulation alone.5
As clinicians have come to expect, hearing aid technology has continued to evolve since DSE was introduced more than seven years ago. In previous models of Signia hearing devices, its signal classification system had a defined effect for directional microphone and noise reduction, dependent on the absolute noise level of the listening environment. Therefore, traditional noise reduction management systems had limited information about the wearer’s listening situations, which meant that occasionally the automatic decision of the hearing aid’s directional microphone and noise reduction strength was not optimal.
Today, machine learning embedded in Signia’s Xperience devices, represents the latest innovation in digital signal processing. (To be continued)
- Powers TA, Rogin CM, MarkeTrak 10: Hearing aids in an era of disruption and DTC/OTC devices. Hearing Review. 2019;26(8):12-20.
- Meister H, Rählmann S, Walger M, Margolf-Hackl S, Kießling J Hearing aid fitting in older persons with hearing impairment: the influence of cognitive function, age, and hearing loss on hearing aid benefit. Clinical Interventions in Aging. 2015; 10, 435—443
- Survey of 10,000-plus hearing aid wearers conducted by Hearing Tracker. Available at https://www.hearingtracker.com/
- Ricketts, TA, Bentler R, Mueller, HG. Essentials of Modern Hearing Aids: Selection, Fitting, and Verification, 2018 Plural Publishing, San Diego, CA.
- Ramirez, P., Jons, C. & Powers, T. Optimizing Noise Reduction Using Directional Speech Enhancement. Hearing Review February 2013