My probe microphone equipment does not include live speech mapping and I am hesitant to invest in new equipment just for this one feature. What are the advantages?
Speech mapping displays the output of a hearing instrument in a patient's ear canal in response to an acoustic input. Speech mapping can be a useful tool in both verification and counseling (Cunningham et al, 2002;Moore, 2007). Speech not only provides a real-world verification signal, but it is also effective in demonstrating the effects of hearing loss and validating the benefits of hearing instruments with patients and their loved ones.
Starkey's S Series includes a Live Speech Mapping feature that offers these benefits of speech mapping without the need for a traditional probe microphone system.
The Live Speech Mapping feature in Starkey's S Series works in the following manner:
- A live or recorded acoustic signal enters the S Series hearing instrument microphone.
- The hearing instrument's digital signal processor (DSP) receives this input and, uses the data from the Live Real Ear Measurement system to derive the real-ear output of the hearing instrument.
- The resulting display is a real-time response calibrated to each individual patient and each individual hearing instrument.
A two- or three-dimensional display of the hearing instrument output is possible with this system. The professional can capture and freeze any sound or voice and print the result or save it in the patient file in the database.
Example of 2D Speech Mapping from Inspire 2009
A 2D Live Speech Mapping display is shown above. A captured 10-second sample of an S Series hearing instrument's response to live speech is shown. The green curve shows the input to the hearing instrument and the purple curve the output. The thin black line represents the patient's thresholds in dB SPL. The graph displays the captured average output by frequency over a 10-second interval.
This display can also be used in a straightforward demonstration with a hearing aid patient. Using the spouse's voice as the input, the professional can capture a 10-second sample and demonstrate how the input and output curves displayed on the speech mapping screen relate to the audiometric information. In this case, the spouse's voice at the input (green shaded region) falls below the patient's threshold above 1000 Hz, while the output of the instrument (purple shaded region) is above threshold over a wide frequency range. This objective information and its appealing display are effective tools for counseling the patient and significant others during the hearing aid fitting process. And, as an added benefit for the professional, investment in additional equipment is not necessary.
I hope you've found this information helpful - thank you for your question.
Cunningham, D. R., Lao-Davila, R. G., Eisenmenger, B. A., & Lazich, R. W. (2002). Study finds use of live speech mapping reduces follow-up visits and saves money. The Hearing Journal, 55(2), 43-46.
Moore, B. C. J. (2006). Speech mapping is a valuable tool for fitting and counseling patients. The Hearing Journal, 59(8), 26-30.
Jason Galster, Ph.D. is Manager of Investigative Initiatives in the Starkey Department of Education and Training. He is responsible for ensuring that all product claims are accurate and backed by supporting evidence. He has held a clinical position as a pediatric audiologist at Riley Children's Hospital and worked as a Research Audiologist on topics that include digital signal processing, physical room acoustics, and amplification in hearing-impaired pediatric populations.
For more information on Starkey, visit www.Starkey.com, or the Starkey web channel on AudiologyOnline