Users Pleased With Performance of DSP-Assisted Hearing Aids

Cleveland, OH. Oticon Inc., developer of a recently-introduced digital hearing instrument called DigiFocus™, presented a forum here today at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Audiologists and researchers reported results of field testing by U.S. patients using DigiFocus.

Rreports and case studies presented at the forum underscored the flexibility of the individualized programming and the quality of the digital sound as potential benefits for a broad range of hearing impaired individuals.

“Every person has a unique hearing loss fingerprint,” explained Craig Newman, Ph.D., Head, Section of Audiology at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. “Until now, conventional analog-based hearing instruments allowed sound manipulation in only two to three hearing bands. Digital signal manipulation enables us to adjust sound in seven bands and more than 100 software-controlled parameters. As a result, we can adjust the computer precisely to compensate for the individual’s hearing loss.”

The DigiFocus digital audio processor has computing power amounting to 14 million instructions per second. It automatically adjusts to changing sound environments, improving a user’s ability to hear speech clearly in settings that are traditionally challenging for individuals with hearing loss, such as restaurants and cars.

“To a properly fitted individual, the introduction of the technology can be compared to the transition from a simple radio with only bass and treble controls to the sophistication of a fully digitized recording studio with its ability to adjust sound frequencies in a myriad of ways to achieve listening pleasure,” noted Peter Mark, M.D., of Oticon.

Researchers Johan Hellgren and Thomas Lunner of Linkoping University in Sweden, an internationally recognized leader in hearing research, shared results of a recently completed study of 33 satisfied users of conventional analog hearing aids who were fitted with the new DigiFocus. The study showed that 80 percent preferred the digital hearing aid over their own instruments.

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