There are two things we most often hear patients ask for from their hearing aids: better speech comprehension and the ability to listen better in noisy or busy environments. Fortunately, two features enable users to hear crisp speech and to focus on a speaker while surrounded by a multitude of others: Speech ID and Acuity Directionality.
One of the greatest challenges with hearing loss is to comprehend speech. Sometimes you can hear the sounds of speech but your hearing loss prevents you from discerning the correct vowels and endings. Speech ID helps protect the authenticity and accuracy of speech by helping the hearing aid to prioritize conversation in difficult listening situations. This feature works to isolate the unique frequencies associated with various letters and words and helps maintain the crispness of conversation.
In the simplest terms, hearing aid directional systems help separate speech from noise by processing how quickly sounds travel from the source to the hearing aid microphones. Speech is distinguished from noise based on how fast the sound reaches the hearing aid microphones; however, this directionality is often limited because the hearing aids tend to amplify sounds directly in front of the listener.
Acuity Directionality creates an adaptable approach to listening through the use of micro-electronic-mechanical systems, or MEMS. This feature enables 360-degree listening capabilities but automatically switches into directional mode in noisy environments. With this feature, the hearing aids are programmed to identify speech from all angles, rather than keeping the focus on what’s happening in front of you.
How it works?
An adaptive multi-microphone system provides a consistent and robust sound quality, creating superior audibility in various environments while also allowing easier listening. When speech is detected by the hearing aid, the microphone directs its response lobe, or the part that identifies sound/speech, towards the source. As this is happening, the microphone is also redirecting the “null,” or the part of the microphone least sensitive to sound, away from the source. As the speaker moves around the listener, the response lobe follows the speaker’s voice while suppressing extraneous noise.
There are many benefits to Acuity Directionality, including the ability to focus on the conversations you want to be having without those that you do not. Alternatively, if you’re driving a car, you won’t have to worry about not being able to hear the passenger beside you or behind you in the back seat.