Ever think you’d want a hearing aid, even if you hear perfectly? Ticking off the first box on my cyborg checklist, Australian Hearing and Siemens today announced it’s coming out with a hearing aid that’s “proven to outperform the hearing ability of a healthy human ear”.
To be specific, the Binax hearing aid is especially adept at understanding speech in “demanding environments”, and seems to go hand-in-hand with some impressive tech that helps wearers target the sounds they want to hear. In a noisy setting, users control the aid via a mobile app, pointing at which sounds it should focus on, and editing volume, bass, and treble settings.
Two independent studies showed positive results.
Two clinical studies were undertaken with people who have mild to moderate hearing loss, in one of the most challenging environments for a person wearing hearing aids – a cocktail-party. The studies showed that those wearing Binax hearing aids could recall more of the conversations than people with normal hearing.
Controlling the environmental sound so 50% of speech could be recognised normally (known as the Speech Reception Threshold), users of the hearing aid could hear speech at 2.9 decibels higher than those without. Binax users could recall more of the conversations afterward.
Much of the tech seems to be software related, intelligently cutting out both consistent background noise and unpredictable factors such as rising and falling wind.
To celebrate, Australian Hearing has a video full of happy people and meaningful words: