Hearing Instruments Directional

Sungyong Jung, PhD
An electrical engineering researcher at the University of Texas at Arlington is developing more efficient, integrated circuits for better hearing aids with improved directionality, based on studies of a parasitic fly.
Unitron's new North platform is designed to bring patients closer to natural hearing and address the number-one desire of hearing aid users: understanding conversations in a wide range of situations.
Figure 1.  An example of a listening situation where UltraZoom has been shown to be of significant benefit. A hearing aid user is listening to the people within the green shaded area. Noise comes from two prominent sound sources (the people sitting at the gray tables).
New adaptive behavior of Phonak binaural beamformer StereoZoom provides significant benefit in speech intelligibility and subjective rating as compared to static or monaural beamformers. This benefit is most evident in difficult listening environments such as when noise is predominantly present from the sides.
Figure 1. Illustration of the test setup. The participant (yellow head) sat in the middle, with target speech presented from 0°, and competing speech from the other seven loudspeakers.
At two independent research sites, sentence recognition in surrounding background noise was found to be significantly superior for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss, when aided with a new binaural beamforming technology, compared to individuals with normal hearing. The performance advantage for the hearing-impaired groups was 2-3 dB SNR.

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Figure 2a-c. Narrow Directionality output signal characteristic. a) Monaural directional output characteristic; b) Binaural beamforming output characteristic; c) binax Narrow Directionality: Binaural beamforming combined with Binaural Noise Reduction.
Introduced in this paper are two key features of the new Siemens binax system: 1) Narrow Directionality, an enhanced binaural beamforming algorithm designed for very difficult listening situations, and 2) Spatial SpeechFocus, a self-steering binaural beamforming algorithm designed especially for situations with talkers from side and back directions in noisy environments.
Left to right:  Jim Kothe, MS, Oticon VP of Sales; Don Schum, PhD, VP of Audiology & Professional Relations; Nancy Palmere, Senior Marketing Manager; Marija Baranauskas, AuD, Director of Education and Training; behavioral scientist James Kane, keynote speaker; Oticon President Peer Lauritsen; Sheena Oliver, VP of Marketing and Mike Irby, Manager of Business Development.
More than 500 US hearing care professionals attended the 2014 Human Link Conference, “Hearing Care is Health Care,” hosted by Oticon which focused on the growing body of research showing the connection between hearing health and brain health.
Oticon’s “brain first” technology is designed to help provide better hearing with less effort by giving the brain the clearest, purest, sound signals to decode.
BrainHearing combines four features—Speech Guard E, Spatial Sound, YouMatic, and Free Focus—that are designed to work together continuously to provide the brain with the input needed to hear more clearly, with reduced listening effort.
Kuk_localization figure 2
An introduction to localization, factors that influence localization when wearing hearing aids, and what steps can be taken to improve localization ability for hearing aid users.
"Can we get to the point where hearing aids, like glasses, are the symbol of a solution, rather than a problem?" Dennis Van Vliet, AuD ponders that question in the August 2014 Final Word column.
Karl Strom_photo
Commoditization and changes in hearing aid distribution are unsettling. Hearing Review Editor-in-Chief takes a look at the issues of concern in his July 2014 Staff Standpoint column.
Understanding speech on the phone is one of the reasons given by hearing impaired individuals for seeking amplification. Phone use is made difficult by the absence of visual cues, inappropriate or inadequate coupling to the phone, and the presence of background noise. Many hearing aid users feel they are unsuccessful on the phone. This article outlines considerations that should be made by the hearing care professional as an aid to facilitate successful phone use. Data from a study comparing four telephone listening methods is presented.
Quarterly hearing aid net unit volume for the private/commercial sector (blue bars) and the US Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA, in red bars). Yearly unit growth percentages for the entire market (private + VA) shown at top.
US hearing aid unit sales in the first quarter of 2014 increased by less than a percentage point (0.95%) for the total market, and by one-tenth of a percent (0.12%) for the commercial (non-VA) sector compared to the same period last year, according to recently released HIA statistics.
TruLink_phone and aid
Starkey Hearing Technologies has introduced Halo, a Made for iPhone® (MFi) hearing aid engineered to be compatible with iPhone, iPad® and iPod® touch.
Jespersen author box
A review of previous methods, as well as a new method, for assessing sound quality is presented along with results from a recent study.
Figure 1. Comparison of input dynamic ranges of everyday sounds, analog microphones, 16-bit ADC, CLEAR hearing aids, and DREAM hearing aids.
Two studies that analyze the capabilities of a new system designed to fully utilize the performance of today’s microphone and analog-to-digital converter technology.

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A discussion on the differences between Lyric and traditional hearing aids, as well as one practice’s experience in dispensing the device for over 5 years relative to equipment requirements, relationships with physicians, and the dramatic positive changes in the 2nd-generation Lyric device.
A recent study suggests that most people view retirement in three different phases. And this has some important implications for hearing aid use.
anderson toddlers 12-24
By providing information about hearing aid retention strategies throughout early childhood, collecting accurate information about daily hearing aid wear challenges, and working as a team, it should be possible to find appropriate strategies to keep children “on the air,” facilitating listening, language, and learning.
A short history of e2e wireless from Siemens’ perspective, as well as the new wireless advances in the hearing instrument industry and the benefits provided.
Are hearing aid markups as high as Internet operators and others claim? Are dispensing professionals routinely using a “5x markup?