Many of us know at least one person who has a hearing aid that sits on a shelf somewhere, collecting dust. The usual complaint: The thing just doesn't work right.
A professor at the University of Essex in the U.K. says these aren't just excuses, but legitimate complaints. "Today's hearing aids don't help to separate sounds--they just amplify them," said Ray Meddis, who has led work on a new kind of hearing aid. "They often make everything too noisy for the wearer, especially in social situations like parties, and some wearers still can't make out what people are saying to them. They find the whole experience so uncomfortable that they end up taking their hearing aids out," Meddis said in a statement released today.
Meddis and his team at Essex have been working on a new kind of aid they say could revolutionize what is now an antiquated approach to treating hearing impairments. The key, they say, is to use unique computer models (what they call "hearing dummies") that treat the root causes, not just the symptoms, of the user's unique condition.
"In the same way that a tailor's dummy is used to measure and fit a garment for a particular person, our software dummy is used to gauge a patient's hearing requirements so that their hearing aid can then be programmed to suit their needs," Meddis said.… Read more