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Hearing Blog

Artificial intelligence helps you understand better in noise

December 22, 2021

Many technologies are using artificial intelligence sensors in their products.  Starkey Hearing Technologies were the very first company to put them to work in their hearing instruments.  Over 3 years ago they introduced the first instruments with AI sensors and they just keep making them better and faster.  This results in better speech understanding in all environments.

The holidays are here!  Along with the holidays come lots of friends and family fun.  Whether you have a hearing loss or normal hearing it may be difficult for you to understand in some group situations.  

As we age, everything takes a little more effort, lol!   Even with normal hearing if we are in a noisy restaurant or club it takes a little more concentration to carry on a conversation, a little more work to ignore the background noise.   Even a mild hearing loss can throw us a curve ball in a group setting.   Our brains along with our auditory and visual systems have the ability to “focus” in on speech.  When we have normal hearing we hear the low frequencies the same as we hear our high frequencies.  Simply put, the lower frequencies provide us with volume, power, men’s voices and a lot of background noise... while the high frequencies give us female voices, and consonants for speech understanding.   It’s all mathematical.   We need to hear the high frequencies at the same levels as the low frequencies.   So a 1 to 1 ratio.   When we experience a hearing loss that ratio changes.   It is called a Signal to Noise ratio or SNR. 

A hearing loss can create a bad Signal to Noise ratio.   Depending upon the degree of the damage it may take more than a 1 to 1 ratio to clear up the speech understanding.   Hearing instrument are designed to improve that ratio.   Some hearing instruments available now have the ability to measure and separate where speech is coming from, communicate to one another what type of noise is also present in with the speech signal, and then determine the actual area in which the head is positioned or facing.   The hearing instruments then calculate the diagnostic information at lightning speed, separating the crowded room noise from the people at your table.  Utilizing artificial intelligence sensors and gyroscopes allow the hearing instruments to analyze and adjust environmental sounds and speech over 1 million times per day.   They can determine distance and even control noise coming from the same direction as who you are facing.  Hearing instruments today help you to “focus” in on speech and clean out the background noise.

As you go through the activities of the next few weeks, be mindful of your friends and family members listening difficulties.   If you have normal hearing and are having a hard time understanding in the group you are in then the person with the hearing loss is having a harder time.   Remember to look at who you are talking to, talk a little slower and enjoy your conversations.  Everyone should have a hearing evaluation.  Call your hearing health care provider to set up an evaluation.   To Hear Better Is To Live Better!


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