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Wireless FM Systems for Improving Understanding in Noise

Gus Hernandez, MA, FAAA

February 19, 2007

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Question

I have been informed that a wireless receiver might be useful to increase speech recognition. I have a pair of Siemens Triano hearing aids. Is there a wireless receiver that I can purchase for these hearing aids?

Answer

Depending on the model of TRIANO™ behind-the-ear (BTE) you have, the answer is yes! The TRIANO S and TRIANO SP BTE instruments are fully compatible with all popular Frequency Modulation (FM) systems including the MicroLink™, the Amigo and the Lexis™ wireless communication systems. No modifications to the hearing instruments are necessary to ensure compatibility. The hearing instruments are coupled directly to the wireless FM receiver via clear audio shoes from Siemens. All Siemens BTE families have at least one model that is compatible with FM and, in many cases (as with TRIANO) there are multiple FM-compatible BTEs. The CONNEXX™ programming software also allows for independent programming of the direct audio input (DAI) program. This program is solely dedicated for use with FM systems and allows for changes to such parameters as frequency response and compression without affecting the other programs. When a wireless receiver is attached to the BTE(s), the hearing aid(s) automatically switch to the fourth/dedicated DAI program to facilitate ease of use for the listener. The DAI program is labeled "A" in the software with "A" indicating "audio input".

The basic design premise (and beauty) of FM is to overcome distance between the desired signal and the listener, thus improving the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and maximizing speech understanding. Basically, there is a transmitter (i.e. microphone) which is worn by the person speaking (or placed centrally in a round table setting) and the receiver which is coupled to the hearing aid(s) of the listener. The FM signal is transmitted directly from the speaker/transmitter to the listener/receiver at distances up to 30 feet. Considering this, FM clearly provides the best solution for improving SNR by overcoming confounding variables such as noise, reverberation and distance. Until recently FM compatibility has only been possible with BTEs, but now there is an FM receiver with a neck-loop option that works with any hearing aid equipped with a telecoil, including custom in-the-ear (ITE) models. This innovative receiver is called MyLink™ and is manufactured by Phonak Hearing Systems.

Whether you are wearing a BTE or a custom instrument, there are many options for improving listening in noise and/or group situations. Please contact your hearing healthcare provider to determine which solution is best for your and your listening needs.

For more information on Siemens, visit www.Siemens.com.

Gus is a Sr. Educational Specialist with Siemens Hearing Instruments and coordinates the training and education of hearing healthcare professionals around the country. He has been with Siemens since 1997.


Gus Hernandez, MA, FAAA


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