Even though today’s technologies have an amazing ability to grab and deliver the noises you want to hear while diminishing the ones you don’t, there are various listening environments that even someone without hearing loss strains to hear. There are multiple technologies to assist with listening in these complex listening environments and in addition that are able to connect hearing aids directly to today’s technologies like computers, phones and televisions. Below are some of the newer assistive listening technologies available from major manufacturers.
Phonak’s Roger Focus. Diminishing background noise for people with hearing loss in extremely challenging environments has been a goal for many manufacturers. The problem has always been developing technology that narrows in on wanted voices, without increasing unwanted sounds. For example, if you are in a restaurant you want to hear the people at your table, but not the people at the next table. According to the manufacturer, Phonak’s Roger Focus system which includes the discreet Roger Pen microphone has done that and, “allowed significant speech recognition where it was previously impossible.” It was shown that this technology allowed people with hearing aids to understand speech in a noisy situation, and over a distance, up to 62% better than people without hearing loss in the same situation.
Oticon’s ConnectLine. Oticon’s ConnectLine technology is a system used to fill in the listening gaps missed in extremely challenging listening environment and includes the dynamic Streamer Pro 1.2. Worn around the neck, Streamer Pro 1.2 transmits various sound sources—television, computer, phone—directly into your hearing aids. It can do this through direct connection or wirelessly. According to the manufacturer, “When hearing aids are linked to Streamer Pro, practically any audio source can be transmitted through Streamer Pro to the hearing aids using a wireless Bluetooth connection or a mini jack cable.” Oticon Streamer Pro is part of their ConnectLine. The ConnectLine is a system of assistive technology that used together can fill in the listening gaps missed in specific circumstances by hearing aids.
Dex by Widex. Dex is a streaming line developed by Widex that delivers high quality sound from television, phone, computers and other sound sources without delays or echoes directly into your hearing aids. The battery has ten hours of operating time in which it not only delivers sound, but has the ability to block unwanted room sounds with a feature called, “Room Off.” Widex describes this feature as being able to, “temporarily switch the hearing aid’s microphone off and hear the TV sound only.”
SoundField by Phonak. Phonak’s hearing assistance system is designed for business to communicate with people with and without hearing loss. That’s because businesses are starting to realize that even people with unhindered hearing have difficulty in challenging listening environments. Soundfield enhances the sound systems in conferences, training and boardrooms, Phonak’s SoundField provides a, “A system that intelligently and automatically adapted its sound output and its settings to suit the specific noise environment of any room.”
myPAL by Beltone is a small portable microphone. It captures sound clearly, even in noisy environments, and streams it directly into the hearing aid bringing the conversation or entertainment closer. myPAL can be connected to your PC, iPad or MP3 player to stream audio to your hearing aids, reaching up to 80 feet with a directional microphone for clearer sound. The myPAL Pro has all the benefits of the myPAL micro, but when used horizontally it automatically switches into “table mode” optimized for picking up the voices of multiple speakers, and it also has more connectivity options.
Microflex Advance by Shure in Niles is a system of receivers built into the ceiling of a meeting room that transmit a digital signal through speakers in the room or to individuals listening by phone or even Skype. Helpful for university, corporate and government users, it will be released this summer.
FM SYSTEMS FOR SCHOOL
SCOLA FM by Widex. Simplified with only a transmitter and a receiver, this system by Widex is designed for classroom use. The receiver connects directly to the student’s hearing aid and the transmitter is placed on a desk or area close to the teacher. No matter where the students sits in the classroom, the lecture is delivered directly into their hearing aid.
Amigo Star by Oticon. Small but with plenty of power, this system to boost hearing in the classroom is compatible with most hearing aids. According to the manufacturer, “By increasing the signal-to-noise ratio, Amigo Star combines FM with excellent sound quality to give children access to the sounds they need to hear clearly in order to make listening and concentration easier.”
Interested in adding an assistive listening device to your hearing aids? Find it at one of our clinics today. Call 888.902.9310 to schedule an appointment with a hearing care professional near you.