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Author: admin | 24.01.2015 | Category: Relieve Tinnitus

If you’re losing your hearing, it can be frustrating: But, hearing aids can help you hear what you’ve been missing. Wayne’s World examines the unwritten history - people, events, and products - that shaped the hearing aid industry.
How satisfactory is the hearing aid setting for consumers when they leave the dispenser’s office? Hearing aids have improved dramatically in the past decades, providing outstanding results for the hearing impaired. The data that follows is the result of a comparison of consumer subjectively preferred signal processing schemes against recommendations made by audiologists.
The purpose of the study was to compare patient preferences for a given signal processing approach against an audiologist’s recommendation.
To follow this discussion, it is important to have a basic understanding of the underlying signal processing schemes behind this research.
An open platform system allows a variety of algorithms (essentially different hearing aids) to be loaded into a single instrument.
A full explanation of the difference between the two platforms is contained in an article by Staab, Preves, Yanz, and Edmonds[1].
In this study, each subject was given four (4) different signal processors (hearing aids) in one, with one of the four being the recommendation of the audiologist. What was the subject’s reaction to the use of a remote control to allow signal processing selection under different listening conditions? FIDELITY: Single-channel broadband input and output AGC (automatic gain control), using the NAL-R fitting formula.
Audiograms of the subjects are shown in Figure 2, with all subjects having been diagnosed as having sensorineural hearing loss.  It was believed helpful to view the actual audiograms rather than mean and standard deviations so that later, subjective results could be directed to a specific audiogram.

The number of subjects that were already wearing hearing aids, and considered experienced users, along with the types of hearing aids worn at the time of the study is shown in Figure 4. Will consumers, when given the opportunity to chose, use the same signal processing strategy (Fidelity, Comfort, Clarifier, Equalizer) as selected by the audiologist to be most appropriate for them, after they have used the instruments for a certain period of time? Next week’s post will report on the results of subject preferences for the different signal processing strategies during their first week of use and then subject preferences from the second week to two months. The fact remains, however, that no hearing aid electroacoustics provides a complete substitute for one’s original hearing.
Fourteen hearing-impaired adult subjects were provided with four different signal processing schemes to allow for paired-comparisons between the schemes.
The sound processing algorithms can be chosen from an existing library of software and from a potentially large library of software signal processors yet to be developed.  To the best of the writer’s knowledge, there are no truly open platform hearing aids in the market currently. Previous hearing aid use of the subjects used in the study, along with the type of hearing aid they were wearing at the time of the study. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. But if your hearing loss is keeping you from communicating with others, hearing aids will most likely help you. Would there be any differences in the final selection if the consumer were allowed to select the hearing aid basic operational system as opposed to that selected by the dispenser? Complicating the situation is that consumers have non-specific subjective requirements that may ultimately determine the successful use of the hearing aid.
Thirteen of the subjects were wearers of hearing aids and one had never worn a hearing aid.  All subjects used the same hardware (software controlled open platform), and each subject was fitted according to an appropriate hearing aid fitting formula for the signal processing scheme recommended by the audiologist.
Knowing this, what hearing aid characteristics might a consumer select if multiple signal processing schemes (essentially different hearing aids, not just different environmental, gain, or response) were available for evaluation during the fitting process?

The evaluated system was a Philips Open Platform hearing aid, remote, and software (no longer manufactured). In a sense, the hearing aid was like the operating system of a computer, and the hand-held remote served as the memory, accessible to different applications that could be ‘run’ on the hearing aid. The multi-programmer remote control on the right was loaded with four different digital hearing aid signal processing schemes intending to provide fidelity, comfort, clarity, and equalization. Think of this difference as follows:  In Figure 1, the hearing aid contains a chip that can be modified or updated to accommodate a wide range of signal processing possibilities, selectable with the remote (in this case, up to four different schemes – buttons 1, 2, 3, and 4). To add new algorithms, new software is loaded into the Remote, but no change is made to the hearing aid itself. Along with hearing aids, these techniques will help you understand what’s happening around you much better. If a contemporary product, the hearing aid most likely has a signal processing scheme hardwired or hardcoded into the chip, allowing for some parameters to be adjusted (including access to be adjusted via a remote control), but the function of the chip cannot be changed without a costly and time-consuming redesign. Software in an office or laptop computer is communicated to the Remote directly via a RS232 connector, the cable system of the Hi-Pro box, by Smart Card connection, or acoustically by teleprogramming.
Each of the Remote signal processing schemes could have the electroacoustic characteristics modified by altering up to 34 different parameter sittings.

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