Motion Sensors in Automatic Steering of Hearing Aids
Eric Branda, Tobias Wurzbacher
A requirement for modern hearing aids is to evaluate a listening environment for the user and automatically apply appropriate gain and feature settings for optimal hearing in that listening environment. This has been predominantly achieved by the hearing aids’ acoustic sensors, which measure acoustic characteristics such as the amplitude and modulation of the incoming sound sources. However, acoustic information alone is not always sufficient for providing a clear indication of the soundscape and user’s listening needs. User activity such as being stationary or being in motion can drastically change these listening needs. Recently, hearing aids have begun utilizing integrated motion sensors to provide further information to the hearing aid’s decision-making process when determining the listening environment. Specifically, accelerometer technology has proven to be an appropriate solution for motion sensor integration in hearing aids. Recent investigations have shown benefits with integrated motion sensors for both laboratory and real-world ecological momentary assessment measurements. The combination of acoustic and motion sensors provides the hearing aids with data to better optimize the hearing aid features in anticipation of the hearing aid user’s listening needs.