Voice iQ Hearing Aid Technology Reduces Background Noise

Hearing aids can reduce background noise, making it easier to understand speech. Learn about Voice iQ hearing aid technology from audiologist Beth McCormick.

Did you know that advanced hearing aids are capable of performing nearly 40 million calculations in a single second? 40 million different calculations in just one second. That’s pretty amazing! Each calculation occurs automatically for the hearing aid wearer, thanks to advanced algorithms inside the circuit. Advanced algorithms optimize the listening environment automatically. No need to push a button! 

Years of research are devoted to the development and optimization of each algorithm. Our teams of research engineers and hearing scientists produce industry leading algorithms and product features – including Voice iQ. In technical terms, it is a proprietary form of single microphone noise reduction. So, what does that mean for you, the hearing aid wearer? 

Older technology reduced low frequencies in an effort to reduce background noise. Unfortunately this approach also reduced important speech information. The annoying background noise that makes understanding speech at a restaurant difficult actually contains important speech cues. So, we don’t want to eliminate it entirely, we just want to make sure background noise is reduced to a comfortable level while maximizing speech understanding. Voice iQ allows us to do just that.

Hearing aids are now designed to handle speech differently than noise. The voice iQ algorithm applies a noise estimate for incoming signals identified as noise. The noise estimate subtracts noise from the overall input of the hearing aid. This application occurs separately from the prescribed gain for speech, creating a comfortable balance between speech and noise. This algorithmic behavior allows the listener to enjoy the widest range of noise reduction while maximizing speech audibility.

Voice iQ benefits the hearing aid wearer in many ways. Proven benefits include improved sound quality and decreased annoyance in challenging listening environments. Research has shown that single microphone noise reduction can also increase a hearing aid wearer’s acceptance of background noise. 

Joint research publications between the Starkey Hearing Research Center and the University of California at Berkley showed Voice iQ eases listening effort, allowing listeners to follow speech, with competing noise, with increased ease and less fatigue. This research study was one of the first of its kind, and received the prestigious Editor’s Award from the American Speech and Hearing Association. Following the publication in 2009, other independent research findings produced similar results. 

The features inside hearing aids keep getting better. Todays’ hearing aids are smart enough to identify noisy environments and make adjustments automatically to maximize speech. Voice iQ will reduce noise levels to help you relax and stay comfortable even in challenging listening environments. 

Learn more about Voice iQ here.

By Beth McCormick, Au.D.

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