If you’ve yet to learn about brain hearing, you’re in the right place! In this article, we’ll discuss this new concept and related technology. Hearing aid technology is advancing faster than hearing aid reputation, and many people continue to associate hearing aids with the ugly, massive contraptions of the past. Nevertheless, in sharp contrast to their clanky ancestors, modern hearing aids are sleek and nearly invisible – and most critically, they work.
What we know is that the key to making them work is not just better technology, but a fundamental change in the overall approach to research and design – a new approach researchers are calling “brain hearing.” Hearing aids have really come a long way over the last 10 to 15 years. Hearing aids that were once bulky, expensive, and ineffective are now discreet, affordable, and capable of reproducing the subtleties of natural sound.
How do brain-focused hearing aids work?
Obviously, brain hearing leads to increased hearing aid performance. By modifying only the sounds that the inner ear cannot already hear well, the natural quality of sound is preserved, and the brain is not fatigued and overwhelmed with unnecessary amplification. By preserving a natural, clear signal that is full of detail, brain-focused hearing aids work with the brain’s four key functions used to make sense of the sound it receives:
1. Speech recognition – brain hearing preserves the natural characteristics of speech, making it easier to focus on conversations and switch between speakers.
2. Sound filtering – brain hearing preserves the ability to identify and separate relevant information from background noise.
3. Spatial recognition – brain hearing preserves the difference in sound between the two ears, allowing for the ability to accurately locate sounds.
4. Sound focusing – brain hearing preserves the ability to focus on relevant sounds and speech, even in noisy environments with abrupt changes in background noise.
So what is brain hearing, exactly?
Brain hearing begins with the simple acknowledgment that sound actually occurs in the brain, and not in the ears. Traditional hearing aids, designed with the ears in mind, tend to amplify any and all sounds, pushing through a mass of noise directly to the brain. The result is terrible sound quality that causes the brain to become overwhelmed and fatigued. And that, unfortunately, sums up the majority of the history of hearing aids.
The good news is that researchers have finally figured out that the processing of sound within the brain, and quality of the signal the brain receives, are just as important as the amplification of sound in the ear. By considering the entire hearing process, brain hearing research is leading to the development of some incredible hearing aids.
Consumers love brain-focused hearing aids
Companies like Oticon, a global leader in the hearing industry, are currently producing brain-focused hearing aids and receiving outstanding feedback. Oticon, for example, reports that while average hearing instrument user satisfaction is 79%, user satisfaction associated with one of its brain-focused hearing aids is 96%.
“Brain Hearing is a natural evolution of Oticon’s long-standing commitment to putting the needs of people first,” says Søren Nielsen, President of Oticon. “This comes back to our research from our Eriksholm research facility, where we have understood that treating hearing loss is much more than presenting sound through amplification. We have known for some years that the brain has a unique ability to process sound if it receives a robust signal that is full of detail.”
How you can benefit from brain hearing
At this point, you may be asking yourself how you can get your hands (and ears) on this new brain hearing technology. While hearing aids are not standard products you can just walk off with, there is some programming that needs to be done before you can wear yours.
It’s important to have your audiologist measure your hearing loss as part of the personalization of your new state-of-the-art hearing aid. That’s where an appointment with this doctor comes in handy. The last thing you can do is enjoy how well you can hear now and really appreciate the benefits of brain hearing.