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Phonak Easier Hearing - December 2022

What Is StereoZoom 2.0 and What Are the Benefits?

Brandy Heckroodt, AuD

December 5, 2022

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What is StereoZoom 2.0 and what are the benefits?

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Driven by a heritage of audiological expertise, Phonak creates key solutions that address the most challenging listening situations. Hearing in noise is often the goal of our patients and their loved ones as celebrations, important discussions, and social-emotional connections take place in noisy environments. Beamforming technology has been shown to boost the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR)3, therefore improving speech intelligibility. UltraZoom (UZ), Phonak’s multi-band monaural adaptive beamformer successfully increases speech recognition in comparison to an omni-directional microphone pattern for hearing aid listeners in both diffused and localized noisy listening conditions.4

The performance of a beamformer, however, can be significantly improved by increasing the number of microphones that are used to create the beam, allowing the formation of an even narrower beam. StereoZoom (SZ), introduced in 2012 with Quest products, is a binaural beamforming system, which combines the signals from four microphones (two on the left, two on the right) via a wireless link. This means the dual microphone system on one ear is wirelessly linked to the dual microphone system on the other and is able to create a narrow beamform pattern which is designed to enable a better SNR. 

A number of studies have demonstrated better speech intelligibility with SZ compared to other beamforming technologies in Phonak devices1 and competitor devices.2 The benefits of SZ have also been found in interesting areas outside of these traditional speech intelligibility measures, such as listening and memory effort. Winneke et al., concluded that a narrow and focused directional microphone allows for a more efficient neurocognitive processing than a wide directional microphone.6

Schulte et al., found a significant increase in the amount of social interaction when using SZ.5 StereoZoom 2.0 (SZ 2.0), new with Lumity products, is smoother, smarter and stronger. There is a smooth activation between the wider beamformer of UZ and SZ 2.0, meaning that Lumity devices will gradually transition from UZ to SZ 2.0 for a smooth switch between listening programs and maintained environmental awareness for your patients. As the noise floor increases, the beamformer smartly narrows its focus to allow conversations to shine in noise. Additionally, a stronger beamformer can be achieved via Target fitting software or the myPhonak app, and the “Speech Focus” slider. This stronger setting can provide an additional 2.5 dB SNR improvement.

The development of StereoZoom 2.0 allows you to give your patients what they’ve been asking for: improved speech understanding in noisy situations. With AutoSense OS 5.0 orchestrating all of the comfort and speech understanding features, Lumity is easy to use and precisely adapts to each environment automatically. The myPhonak app can be used as an additional tool for your patients to adjust their instruments in real-time to really focus in on the conversations they want to hear.

The best way to demonstrate the benefit of Lumity technology is to demonstrate its features. Reach out to your Phonak representative with questions on Lumity technology or creating an impactful demo experience in your office.

For more information on Lumity and SmartSpeech™ Technology, click here.

Resources:

  1. Appleton, J. & König, G. (2014). Improvements in speech intelligibility and subjective benefit with binaural beamformer technology. Hearing Review, 21(11), 40-42.
  2. Latzel, M., & Appleton-Huber, J. (2015). StereoZoom – Adaptive behaviour improves speech intelligibility, sound quality and suppression of noise. Field Study News. 
  3. Lewis, S., Crandall, C., Valente, M., & Horn, J. (2004). Speech perception in noise directional microfones versus frequency moduclation (FM) systems. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 15, 426-439.
  4. Ricketts, T. & Henry, P. (2002). Evaluation of an adaptive, directional-microphone hearing aid. International Journal of Audiology, 41(2), 100-112.
  5. Schulte, M., Meis, M., Krüger, M., Latzel, M., & Appleton-Huber, J. (2018). Significant increase in the amount of social interaction when using StereoZoom. Phonak Field Study News.
  6. Winneke, A., Schulte, M., Vormann, M. & Latzel, M. (2020). Effect of directional microphone technology in hearing aids on neural correlates of listening and memory effort: an electroencephalographic study. Trends in Hearing, 24, 1-16 


brandy heckroodt

Brandy Heckroodt, AuD

Audiology Manager for Phonak, USA

Brandy Heckroodt, AuD is an Audiology Manager for Phonak US. She earned her Doctor of Audiology degree from Nova Southeastern University and practiced privately until she joined Phonak in 2012 as a Lyric Clinical Trainer. Dr. Heckroodt is passionate about supporting HCPs and their patients live a life without limitations.


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