New hearing instrument connects hands-free to cell phones
Somerset, NJ April 10, 2007 - Oticon, Inc. today introduced Oticon Epoq, the first hearing instrument designed with wireless connectivity at its core to address the two most common listening challenges for people with hearing loss. A proprietary binaural high speed wireless technology enables a pair of Epoq hearing devices to communicate at data transfer speeds 100 faster than hearing instruments now on the market. This real-time connectivity with voices and other sounds in the immediate listening environment provides accurate, stereophonic auditory information that is in synch with a user's visual experience. The same wireless connectivity also enables easy, hands-free access to the world of electronically transmitted sounds from Bluetooth-enabled cell phones and other popular electronic devices such as MP3 players and computers.
"Epoq allows hearing care professionals to address two distinct needs in one unified hearing solution - the ability to communicate efficiently and effectively with the world of 'near' sounds such as human voice and environmental sounds and with the 'far away' world of electronic communication through devices such as cell phones and MP3 players," said Peer Lauritsen, President of Oticon, Inc. "We finally have a hearing instrument that goes beyond compensation for hearing loss to become a true high tech communications device."
Real-Time Synchronicity -- in Stereo
Epoq is the first hearing device powered by Oticon's newly developed wireless digital platform, RISE. Using innovative EarStream™ broadband technology, the hearing instrument creates a wireless sphere around users. This enables two Epoq hearing aids to manage auditory information via a central processor, eliminating the uncoordinated shifts in settings that occur with ordinary binaural fittings. Epoq's unique dual-path processing takes into account the way in which the brain relies on input from two ears to deliver the best performance on a variety of sound paramaters. Binaurally fitted Epoq hearing instruments are synchronized in the core processing to best preserve the cues for localization and speech segregation. The result is a much more accurate - stereophonic - sound picture.
Wireless Connectivity to Cell Phones and More
Epoq provides a new and previously unavailable hearing solution to the use of cell phones. Earlier options such as removing one hearing aid or using a T-coil and the distractions caused by background noise often made cell phone use impossible for people with hearing loss.
Now, with the addition of the small, smart-looking Streamer, Epoq becomes the equivalent of a hands-free Bluetooth intelligent headset without having to attach bulky devices or wires to the hearing instrument. The Streamer, a small, sleek, wearable device similar to an MP3 player, facilitates effortless audio streaming from cell phones, personal computers, GPS systems and other popular electronic devices. The Streamer converts Bluetooth signals into an electromagnetic bit stream that is received directly by the hearing instruments. This seamless connectivity is fully digital and uninterrupted from the Bluetooth source device to the hearing instruments, providing comfortable and noise-free sound quality. Once the Streamer is paired to a Bluetooth compatible cell phone, the user simply presses a button on the Streamer to receive phone calls binaurally through the hearing instruments.
Variety of Styles and Performance Levels
Epoq is available in styles from sleek multi-colored mini RITEs and BTEs to a full custom product line from CIC to low profile. This means that virtually any person with hearing loss from mild to severe can be fit with an Epoq that meets their exact requirements. Epoq is available in two performance levels, the premium choice, Epoq XW, or Epoq W. The Streamer is an optional companion device for both versions.
Oticon is one of the most innovative hearing aid manufacturers on the market. With more than 100 years of experience, Oticon has spearheaded a number of technological breakthroughs which have made a significant difference for people with hearing loss. Oticon is the only hearing aid manufacturer with its own research center, ensuring that the needs of hearing aid users are always put first when developing new solutions. For more information about the new Epoq, visit www.oticonusa.com or the Oticon Web Channel on Audiology Online at www.audiologyonline.com/channels/oticon.asp