To each ear its hearing aid!

August 11, 2016 by Jacques Erpelding
When designing hearing aids, manufacturers have to think about the needs of people wearing them.

For children, the criteria influencing speech comprehension are different than for adults. Children are more dependent on high-frequency sound audibility, so they need a better signal-to-noise ratio and lower reverberation time, and they cannot use context as much to fill information gaps.

Adapted product range

A product range was designed around these four criteria. To meet high-frequency audibility needs, a new frequency compression system provides access to high-frequency even when hearing loss in this frequency band is significant. Instead of only one cut-off frequency, the system adds another and includes a dynamic portion to maintain high-frequency discrimination and sound quality. Result: better high-frequency audibility.

Study of the sound environment led to the observation that the automatic program management system is not optimal for children, since they have different activities than adults. Functioning criteria were revised, and an automatic program was created especially for children. Whether children are at home, in class, playing, or doing sports, the automatic program adjusts the hearing aids’ digital circuit by selecting the configuration that will give the best signal-to-noise ratio (out of 205 total configurations).

Aside from the signal-to-noise ratio, reverberation is the factor that interferes the most with speech comprehension. On average, children are exposed to reverberation situations 11% of the time. The automatic program manages those situations while preserving speech comprehension capacity, whether in an arena or a mall.

It is easier for adults to contextualize situations and extrapolate when they misunderstand something, since they have more experience. The younger they are, the less children are able to perform this type of inference, particularly in noisy and reverberant environments. In those cases we recommend using Roger or FM systems to improve listening.

For this reason, new models include a RogerReady audio input to enable direct plug-in of Roger or FM external systems. This means Roger or FM accessories can be attached to hearing aids and will work automatically, without any additional programming.

An elegant design

Special attention has been given to aesthetics. A flashing light indicates to parents that the hearing aids are functional. Also, the range of easy-to-connect accessories has been expanded. Thanks to these innovations, pediatric hearing aids now offer excellent flexibility and performance.

Consult an audioprosthetist to learn more.

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