Enhancing Real-World Listening and Quality of Life with New Split-Processing Technology

Audiology Online, September 1, 2021

Signia has a long track record of developing innovative amplification features that optimize wearer performance in all types of challenging listening situations. The goal of optimizing wearer performance across a range of divergent listening conditions was the main driver in the development of the Signia Augmented Xperience (AX) platform with the revolutionary Augmented Focus™ technology.

The ability of Augmented Focus to optimize the contrast between speech, which the wearer typically wants to follow and understand, and background sounds the wearer simply wants to be aware of, affects the entire listening experience. Signia AX with Augmented Focus specifically addresses the challenge of understanding speech in background noise, which is still one of the most dominant complaints made by hearing aid wearers (Picou, 2020).

Given these unique features, Augmented Focus provides several perceptual benefits for the wearer in a variety of listening situations. Some of these benefits have already been demonstrated: 1.) In a study conducted at the University of Northern Colorado, speech-in-noise testing was done in a simulated restaurant scenario, and the results showed that the performance with AX was superior both to the performance without Augmented Focus and to the performance offered by two main competitor devices (Jensen et al., 2021a). Furthermore, the AX performance was on par with the performance by a normal-hearing reference group. 2.) In a fully remote study done by Hörzentrum Oldenburg in Germany, a speech-in-noise test setup was established in the participants’ own homes. The results showed a significant speech-intelligibility benefit of Signia AX compared to the participants’ own hearing aids (Jensen et al., 2021b).

While these test results clearly indicate how Augmented Focus is able to make a difference for the wearer, the optimal way to explore the full potential of Augmented Focus is to fit Signia AX to wearers and ask them to use it in their own real-world listening situations. Toward that objective, an international survey was conducted in the United States, Germany and France. The survey included a comparison of Signia AX and the respondents’ own hearing aids. Using questionnaires in which respondents were able to evaluate various types of listening situations, the wearers compared Signia AX to their current devices.

Although the survey was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, in which social distancing guidelines were in place, the survey respondents continued to lead their daily lives in a variety of auditory surroundings that were captured in this survey.

Here, we present the final data from the survey, which offers some clinically relevant insights into how respondents’ listening challenges were addressed by Signia AX. The data provide some clear indications of the performance and benefits of Signia AX and Augmented Focus in real-world listening conditions, showing a high level of satisfaction with Signia AX as well as a clear preference over the respondents’ own hearing aids. The benefits are observed in various perceptual domains (e.g. improved speech intelligibility), but they are also observed in several quality-of-life-related domains (e.g. a stronger feeling of confidence).

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