How does an automatic hearing system benefit the patient?
An automatic system is an integral part of the hearing aid experience. You can think of it as the conductor of the hearing aid, directing the adaptation of its features and settings to continuously meet the listening needs of the user. Such adaptations commonly include gain adjustments, microphone directionality, connectivity to accessories, direct streaming and more. When you consider how often your patients’ listening needs change throughout your day, it is easy to see the value in these adjustments occurring automatically. For the user, it takes the guess work out of what adjustments are needed and greatly reduces the number of manual adjustments that would be made at all!
To further illustrate the benefits of an effective automatic system, let’s explore how it is used in Phonak Paradise™. Paradise devices feature AutoSense OS™ 4.0, which drives a comprehensive sound classification system. Sound classes help the hearing aid group settings together that best address the needs of your patients’ listening environment. This system is informed by the type of sound (speech, noise or music) in the environment as well as the level of that sound.
In addition to AutoSense for acoustic signals, there is also a classification system for streamed signals, which detects whether an incoming streamed signal is music or speech. Having a comprehensive set of sound classes means that the automatic system has plenty of options for determining which parameters best meet your patients’ needs. Additionally, both classification systems offer programming transparency to the provider, making it easy to adjust the settings of one sound class without affecting another. This flexibility allows for customization of the automatic system, effectively minimizing the need for manual adjustments even further.
All of that sounds pretty great, but sound classification is not the endgame of an automatic system! There are some listening environments that present a more complex set of needs that cannot be captured by sound classification alone. In response to this, automatic systems are becoming more sophisticated.
Motion Sensor Hearing in Phonak Paradise is an example of an advancement in automatics. Imagine you are walking down a busy street with a friend. You are having difficulty hearing their speech over the street noise. Based on the environment, your hearing aids apply the settings for the speech-in-noise sound class, activating noise reduction and directing your hearing aid microphones to the front. It does this because it presumes you are facing the source of the speech, but this response misses the mark because your friend is to your side.
Enter Motion Sensor Hearing. Motion Sensor Hearing is a feature that can detect if you are walking, which will trigger an automatic adjustment of the microphone, widening its path so that speech can be captured from the sides. In this example, the automatic system is finding a compromise between the acoustic sound class of the environment and the physical behavior of the user, in order to optimize speech understanding.
Last, but not least, the automatic system also ensures the user has a seamless experience integrating with their other devices and accessories. For example, Paradise devices have RogerDirect™ capabilities. Meaning, once a Roger device is paired to the hearing aids, the aids can then automatically detect when that device is being used, make the switch to the Roger program, and begin streaming. The same automatic detection is true for direct streaming from a paired phone and other accessories, such as a TV connector.
Simply put, an effective automatic system should take the work out of listening!