Hearing Instrument Technology
Automatic Signal Processing
Hearing instruments can monitor your environment and automatically adjust the volume to make speech audible and reduce background noise. Soft sounds are amplified and loud sounds receive little or no amplification. This type of signal processing keeps the output of the hearing instrument comfortable, so manual changes are unnecessary.
Feedback is the whistling or buzzing noise that a hearing aid can make. Feedback management technology allows hearing aid users access to increased high frequency amplification without feedback. High frequency information carries the sounds of speech responsible for clarity. It is possible to reduce feedback by reducing the volume, though this can affect the clarity of speech. Modern feedback cancelation methods continually monitor the incoming signal and adjust the hearing instrument to minimize feedback without reducing gain.
The inability to hear amidst background noise (in a restaurant or at a party) is a common complaint among people with hearing loss. Modern hearing instruments are able to continually monitor the incoming signals and determine the amount of noise in the environment. They then automatically minimize background noise. This allows the user to listen to speech more comfortably and clearly in noisy environments.
Another type of technology that improves speech understanding in noisy environments is the use of directional microphones. Most directional microphone systems help focus on the sounds of interest coming from the front by reducing amplification from the sides and back of the user. The most current directional microphone systems automatically reduce the noise source in the environment.