Hearing-device wearers report that assistive technology to contain background noise is still a holy grail and needs industry co-operation, according to an Action on Hearing Loss survey:
- Ninety-six per cent of respondents said hearing in noisy settings is a major challenge.
- Just 12% of hearing aid users and 27% of cochlear implant wearers are satisfied now.
Help From The Hearing-Device Industry
Device makers can innovate by adding smart visual indicators to FM systems, Bluetooth streamers, remote microphones, assistant devices and apps for hearing-devices to suggest noise-management options when device-wearers may not be aware intervention is available.
University researchers may be the solution, with MSU piloting a new hearing-aid to optimise spoken voices in background noise. If this smart hearing-aid works, it will appeal to people who avoid hearing-devices for the very same inability to hear voices amidst ambient sounds.
No More Need to Turn Off Hearing Aid to Tune Out Background Noise With MSU’s New Technology
An innovation in cochlear implants (which may address background noise intrusion) is optical cochlear implants, which use near-infrared lasers to produce a sound effect in an opto-acoustic approach. Issues to address are component size and power supply but various industry research groups are exploring laser use in newer hearing devices.
Redirecting Smartphones As Hearing-Aids
Elsewhere, ongoing moves to turn smartphones into hearing-aids may boost acoustic quality in smartphones – which after all, use similar digital audio technology to hearing-aids:
Several industry initiatives (including SonicCloud) are exploring smartphone use as incidental hearing-aids for people with mild to severe hearing loss who may not want a full hearing-aid.