As hearing aid technologies advance with more wireless and streaming capabilities, should we start counseling patients that they will have to change the batteries more often, or is anything being done to compensate for the battery consumption these technologies require?
Great question. I can speak to the Oticon Inium platform which is at the core of Alta hearing instruments. It’s designed to deliver exceptional performance and ultra-low power consumption in a very small size. Ultra-low power consumption is very important, as it is critical for maintaining a high level of performance for the patient. The Inium platform is the most advanced and efficient wireless signal platform that we’ve ever built. It takes vital information, in real time, and exchanges that information between both ears seamlessly so that the patient can have a more natural and authentic sound. Because of its processing speed, we’re able to offer the best speech understanding we’ve ever offered in a product. The benefits also extend to helping alleviate the stress and fatigue that we know often accompanies hearing loss.
The wireless system in Alta consumes about ten times less energy when receiving an audio stream than what you would find in a 2.4 GHz radio frequency system. What we’re saving on power consumption we are able to use to increase our digital signal processing capabilities, which translates to real quality-of-life benefits for the patient.
Think about it like a glass of water. If three-quarters of the glass is filled with water due to battery consumption from the wireless system, you only have a quarter of that glass left for all the other digital signal processing that’s needed for the patient. Using that same analogy, the Inium platform only has a quarter of that glass filled with water that’s being used for battery consumption. The other three-quarters are all dedicated to signal processing to benefit the patient. In hearing device design and development, it is very important to consider how a platform uses power to ensure that it is maximizing the performance for the patient.
Editor’s note: This Ask the Expert was taken from a recent interview with Sheena Oliver – read the full interview here.