Yes, better technology plays into the newer hearing aids, but the true catalyst to making hearing aids work is a big change in the overall approach to research and design. This new approach is what researchers are calling “brain hearing.” At the heart of the issue, though, is that hearing aid technology is advancing faster than hearing aid reputation. This means most people assume hearing aids are ugly, massive contraptions as opposed to modern hearing aids that are sleek and nearly invisible.
Hearing aids, which have come a long way over the last 10 to 15 years, used to be bulky, expensive, and ineffective. Now they are much more discreet and affordable, with the capability of reproducing the subtleties of natural sound.
How you can benefit from brain hearing
While hearing aids are not off-the-shelf products and need to be professionally fitted and programmed, the process is likely to be easier than you think. Right about now, you may be asking yourself how you can get your hands (and ears) on this new brain hearing technology.
The first step is to see a board-certified audiologist for a hearing test. Next, your audiologist will precisely measure your hearing loss, using that information in the custom programming of your new technologically advanced hearing aid. It’s now possible to truly enjoy the sounds of life again, free from hearing loss that can really bring you down.
Consumers love brain-focused hearing aids
sSøren Nielsen, President of Oticon, says “Brain Hearing is a natural evolution of Oticon’s long-standing commitment to putting the needs of People First. This comes back to our research from our Eriksholm research facility, where we have understood that treating hearing loss is much more than presenting sound through amplification. We have known for some years that the brain has a unique ability to process sound if it receives a robust signal that is full of detail.”
Companies like Oticon, a leader in the hearing aid industry, makes brain-focused hearing aids. They are getting amazing feedback as a result. Oticon, for example, reports that while average hearing instrument user satisfaction is 79%, user satisfaction associated with one of its brain-focused hearing aids is 96%.
So what is brain hearing, exactly?
Brain hearing begins with the simple acknowledgment that sound actually occurs in the brain, and not in the ears. Traditional hearing aids, designed with the ears in mind, tend to amplify any and all sounds, pushing through a mass of noise directly to the brain. The result is terrible sound quality that overwhelms and tires the brain.
The processing of sound within the brain is a focus for researchers. They realize that the quality of the signal the brain receives is just as important as the amplification of sound in the ear. By considering the entire hearing process, brain hearing research is leading to the development of some excellent hearing aids.
How do brain-focused hearing aids work?
It’s not difficult to understand: brain hearing leads to drastically improved hearing aid performance. By switching up only the sounds that the inner ear cannot already hear well, the natural quality of sound remains unchanged, and the brain is not fatigued and overwhelmed due to unnecessary amplification. By preserving this clear signal that is rich in detail, brain-focused hearing aids work with the brain’s four key functions used to understand the sound it receives:
1. Sound filtering – brain hearing preserves the ability to identify and separate relevant information from background noise.
2. Sound focusing – brain hearing preserves the ability to focus on relevant sounds and speech, even in noisy environments with abrupt changes in background noise.
3. Spatial recognition – brain hearing preserves the difference in sound between the two ears, allowing for the ability to accurately locate sounds.
4. Speech recognition – brain hearing preserves the natural characteristics of speech, making it easier to focus on conversations and switch between speakers.