Innovative Technology to Handle the Disruptions of the Real World
AudiologyOnline: Comfort with the sound of hearing aids can be a challenge for many hearing aid users. Sounds like wind noise, handling noise – generated when the microphones are touched – and sudden sounds can be disruptive and unpleasant for hearing aid users. Can you tell us about the new technology in Oticon Real™ that is designed to help with this challenge?
Virginia Ramachandran: As clinicians, we have to strike the right balance between optimal clarity and optimal comfort. If we decrease the gain to increase comfort, we risk compromising clarity. And this is a huge problem.
We needed a way to manage these types of sounds without compromising on clarity. Oticon Real™ is a tool to allow us to do this. The RealSound Technology™ in Oticon Real is the culmination of more than a decade of BrainHearing™ research, trying to give the brain the most natural sound quality possible – the best real world representation.
The powerful new Polaris R™ platform features new detectors for fast and precise processing of disruptive sounds and wind and handling noise. An on-board Deep Neural Network (DNN) trained with 12 million real life sounds optimizes the way Oticon Real makes sounds more distinct, working seamlessly across varying listening environments. Two new innovations, SuddenSound Stabilizer and the Wind & Handling Stabilizer help Oticon Real take DNN-based sound processing to the next level.
AudiologyOnline: How does SuddenSound Stabilizer protect against sudden disruptive sounds?
Virginia Ramachandran: Using the new detectors, SuddenSound Stabilizer monitors the sound environment and adapts amplification to keep both soft and loud sudden sounds available, balanced and comfortable. SuddenSound Stabilizer can handle more than 500,000 sudden sounds during a typical day, instantly reducing and releasing gain as the sounds occur, without compromising comfort or access to speech. Two recent studies prove that SuddenSound Stabilizer offers Oticon Real users improved speech clarity while reducing the listening effort that occurs in the presence of sudden sounds by 22%* and catching and processing 70% more sudden sounds than the technology in Oticon More™**.
AudiologyOnline: How does Wind & Handling Stabilizer differ from traditional hearing aid technology?
Virginia Ramachandran: Traditional hearing aids allow wind and handling noise to enter both microphones, forcing the noise reduction system to attenuate more of this noise. With its Wind & Handling Stabilizer, Oticon Real selects the microphone with the cleanest input, prevents disruptive sound from entering the system, and attenuates remaining noise in affected frequencies -- detecting and cleaning up noise 500 times per second. It leaves the two-microphone input for everything else. It also works across the entire frequency range to help with wind and handling noise across all frequencies, helping it work in even higher wind speeds because those affect higher frequencies.
We tested Oticon Real against two top competitors at wind speeds of 6 m/s to measure the effectiveness of Wind & Handling Stabilizer. With Competitor 1, wind noise was 22% louder than with Oticon Real*** and the Speech clarity of Competitor 2 was 17% less clear than Oticon Real***.
AudiologyOnline: Where can we learn more about Oticon Real?
* Based on a 22% reduced mean pupil size as compared to the highest mean pupil size.
** Santurette, S., Brændgaard, M., Wang, J., & Sun, K. (2023). SuddenSound stabilizer – Evidence and user benefits. Oticon Whitepaper.
***Gade, P., Brændgaard, M., Flocken, H., Preszcator, D., & Santurette, S. (2023). Wind & handling stabilizer – Evidence and user benefits. Oticon Whitepaper.