We can train hearing aids?

This month, our audiologists learned about new technology offered by one of our hearing aid suppliers, Oticon. This groundbreaking advance is called Deep Neural Networks and I will explain what this means below.

Complicated listening situations

One of the most difficult places to hear when you have hearing loss is busy social settings. There can be multiple talkers and events happening in the background such as music, a sports game and the clanging dishes all happening at the same time. In these environments, the hearing aids sometimes make an incorrect choice when they have to decide which talker or sound might be the most important to you at that moment.

Traditionally, hearing aids would try to reduce noise coming from behind you and, in very noisy environments, focus on a narrow beam of sound that’s in front of you. Oticon’s More hearing aids do something different and revolutionary.

The computer chip in these hearing aids has what is called a Deep Neural Network. This means that they have been trained on 12 million real life sound scenes. Now the hearing aids are able to give full access to the sound scene around you and enhance the contrast and balance between these different sounds. The sound scene is scanned up to 500 times per second to capture any changes that are happening in these difficult settings.

The training that has been completed in the Deep Neural Network of the hearing aids decides what should be put in the foreground (sounds of interest with a lot of information) versus the background (sounds of less interest with less information). In this example below, the scientists have trained the hearing aid to not focus on the sound of the seagull, but instead push it more into the background.

What benefits can I expect as a hearing aid user?

A study was done comparing this new technology to Oticon’s previous hearing aids. They concluded that the full sound scene was 30% clearer compared to their previous technology and speech understanding in noise was improved by a further 15%. In addition, testing was completed on long term memory recall of the person wearing these devices. Because of the reduced listening effort associated with these hearing aids, memory recall improved by approximately 15% as well!

These hearing aids give access to a full sound scene, allowing meaningful sounds to stand out from the background in clear contrast to each other, while still allowing you to be aware of sounds in all directions. This gives you distinct information in order to provide the brain all it needs in order to get the full picture of your surroundings.

Trainable hearing aids are available now

We get excited when new technology helps our clients hear sound more naturally. Take a look at our full selection of hearing aids.

If you have any questions or wish to try these these hearing aids at home, reach out any time. We’re all ears!

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