24.03.10

Hearing aid boosts brain power

AUTHOR: Inavate

We have reported on hearing aid technology before, but now a Danish hearing aid specialist has developed a new hearing system that promises a more natural experience thanks to an advanced new audio DSP algorithm. The Oticon Agil manages sounds at a higher level of abstraction than traditional hearing aids, separating and optimising them based on source and type. In essence, it does some of the tasks that the brain would otherwise have to perform.

Here’s what the company has to say about its new innovation:

"With the breakthrough multidimensional sound processing of new Oticon Agil, speech understanding becomes more immediate so that more cognitive energy is readily available to engage in day-to-day interactions. New Oticon Agil processes sound the way the human auditory system naturally does, preserving the fidelity of natural speech and spatial cues so that less energy is needed to translate and interpret the meaning of sounds -- allowing the brain to perform other important cognitive tasks. The brain uses a three-step process to understanding speech. It first organizes sounds and selects those sounds that are most important. Once a sound is identified, the brain follows it naturally, enabling the individual to comfortably interact in the listening environment. Hearing loss distorts sounds, disrupting this process for people with hearing loss. New Oticon Agil takes much of the hard work out of organizing, selecting and following sounds so that people with hearing loss can stay engaged and active in everyday activities."


The company also has a marketing video explaining (rather basically) the principles behind the device: