Friday, August 21, 2009

Software implant improves sound clarity in hearing aids

Source Link - Software implant improves sound clarity in hearing aids

A new software for cochlear implants and hearing aids greatly improves sound clarity and speech recognition for the hard-of-hearing, says a new study.

"Hearing-impaired people have a real problem understanding speech," said Miriam Furst-Yust of Tel Aviv University (TAU), who developed the new software.

"Their devices may be useful in a quiet room, but once the background noise levels ramp up, the devices become less useful. Our algorithm helps filter out irrelevant noise so they can better understand the voices of their friends and family," said Furst-Yust.

Based on a cochlear model that she devised, the new patented technology known as Clearcall is now being fine-tuned to improve the capabilities of existing cochlear implants and digital hearing aids.

Adding Clearcall to current technology is quite straightforward and requires only add-on software for existing devices.

The software was originally developed for use in cell phones, but Clearcall introduced distortions that people with normal hearing found distracting. That's when Furst-Yust started applying the methodology to hearing aids.

"It takes some getting used to," she said, "but people who have been wearing hearing aids all their lives have no problem getting the most from Clearcall. And we can train the newly hearing impaired in a quick introductory session."