Tis’ the season for healthy hearing! It’s that time of year again, where families gather together and create lasting memories. During the holiday season, those who struggle with hearing loss can find themselves missing out on family conversations during this time of cheer. Isolation and social anxiety are possible health conditions that can stem from […]
Hearing aid accessories are often overlooked because the wearer does not realize they have options to enhance their hearing experience. Much like how surround sound can enhance the viewing experience at a movie theater, a hearing aid accessory is designed to strengthen the benefits you receive from your hearing aids. This common misunderstanding can lead […]
Researchers are looking at ways to apply new signal processing strategies to the design of hearing aids. Signal processing is the method used to modify normal sound waves into amplified sound that is the best possible match to the remaining hearing for a hearing aid user. NIDCD-funded researchers also are studying how hearing aids can enhance speech signals to improve understanding.
In addition, researchers are investigating the use of computer-aided technology to design and manufacture better hearing aids. Researchers also are seeking ways to improve sound transmission and to reduce noise interference, feedback, and the occlusion effect. Additional studies focus on the best ways to select and fit hearing aids in children and other groups whose hearing ability is hard to test.
Another promising research focus is to use lessons learned from animal models to design better microphones for hearing aids. NIDCD-supported scientists are studying the tiny fly Ormia ochracea because its ear structure allows the fly to determine the source of a sound easily. Scientists are using the fly’s ear structure as a model for designing miniature directional microphones for hearing aids. These microphones amplify the sound coming from a particular direction (usually the direction a person is facing), but not the sounds that arrive from other directions. Directional microphones hold great promise for making it easier for people to hear a single conversation, even when surrounded by other noises and voices.