How does IntelliVoice take advantage of connectivity with a smartphone?
IntelliVoice is a first of its kind speech enhancement feature. The next evolution of what Starkey has been doing with Hearing Reality Pro and Edge Mode. The first use of deep neural network concepts within hearing aids. This feature is designed for a more moderate to severe hearing loss and those thresholds must be met for the feature to be available.
IntelliVoice takes advantage of a variety of technologies working together to provide the listener with a unique approach to signal processing and deliver a great listening experience in challenging acoustic environments. The IntelliVoice algorithm is housed in the Thrive mobile app. By putting IntelliVoice in the mobile app, we can take advantage of the processing power in the smartphone. We then couple the IntelliVoice signal processing with the advantages of a remote microphone by using the microphones on the smartphone to pick up the speaker’s voice and stream it to the Livio Edge AI hearing aids.
IntelliVoice is targeted to those people with a more severe hearing loss; specifically, to individuals who have hearing thresholds of 50 dB or greater at 250 and 500 Hertz. The algorithm is also designed for a binaural fitting, so will not be available for monaural fittings or CROS/BiCROS fittings. At this time, IntelliVoice is also exclusive to Apple iOS devices. This is due to an audio delay that occurs when using a smartphone as a remote microphone. With Apple devices, this delay is tolerable by the listener and the IntelliVoice processing outweighs the slight negative of the audio delay. However, at this time, the audio delay with Android devices is upwards of three-times longer and becomes intolerable by the listener.
How to Access IntelliVoice?
IntelliVoice is found in the Accessories tab if the fitting criteria have been met. The Accessories tab will be available even if accessories haven't been paired with the hearing aids. If all criteria have been met, IntelliVoice will be available and the accessories icon will appear in that lower navigation bar for the patient access. Typically, you must have accessories paired with the hearing aids for that icon to be present. However, if the criteria for IntelliVoice are met, then the Accessories icon will appear even if there are no accessories paired to the hearing aids. When you use this feature for the first time and open up that Accessories icon, the hearing aid wearer is going to get some information about how to utilize that iPhone microphone to improve hearing. For best performance, the wearer should point the bottom of the phone towards the person that they want to hear. Sometimes that can be kind of a non-intuitive thing to do. After familiarizing themselves with the functions of IntelliVoice, the user taps on Done and they can use the feature anytime needed
To activate IntelliVoice, the user simply taps on the Play button to begin the audio stream from the phone’s microphone. By default, the hearing aids switch into the StreamBoost memory and the hearing aid microphones mute. The user can adjust both the stream volume and the hearing aid microphone input, if desired. They can also change into any hearing aid memory. The listener can toggle between the Regular and Enhanced listening modes to find the listening experience that works best for them in any particular situation.
- Regular is similar to that Live Listen functionality in the Apple native controls except no frequency filtering is imposed. We send the full signal to the hearing aids.
- Enhanced is going to add in that IntelliVoice signal processing algorithm and provide a maximum signal enhancement.
This Ask the Expert is an excerpt from Thrive Mobile: The Best Mobile App Just Got Better! For more information, visit www.starkey.com or visit Starkey's Partner Page on AudiologyOnline.