November 25, 2012

Quest Hearing Aid Developments: Improving Life’s Soundscape


The latest binaural VoiceStream technology is a hugely impressive feature. Using the four microphones spread between 2 hearing aids this breakthrough technology provides a detailed analysis of your ‘soundscape’ profiling exactly what each sound is and more importantly where it exists in a 360 degree circle.

Once the hearing aids understand where you are, they then identify the presence of dominant speech helping to improve how well this can be picked up at the source. This improves the signal to noise ratio (SNR) where ‘signal’ describes what you want to listen to and ‘noise’ everything else. The smart processing inside the hearing aids’ computers have additional sound cleaning and comfort settings which are then automatically activated as needed.

The Binaural VoiceStream Technology is used in several different ways but two features we are particularly impressed with is Speech in Wind & auto StereoZoom.

A major issue for anyone that wears hearing aids is the sound of wind turbulence. When air blows across the face of a microphone it can create a strong rushing noise which can makes it hard to hear what you want or it becomes unpleasant to listen against.

The latest Quest instruments have an intelligent and intriguing way of addressing this issue. When wind noise is picked up on one side and speech the other side, the system detects this. The ‘wind’ side is sent the speech signal wirelessly so that voice is heard in both ears in stereo.
The ‘wind side’ then filters the wind noise reducing its volume but whilst maintaining the speech frequencies to preserve how well consonants are heard. This dramatically improves the SNR and how well things are heard and how comfortable it is to listen.

And this feature is not something which is just useful to walkers, golfers or people who partake regularly in outdoor pursuits. Step outside the front door and any small amount of breeze can be detected by hearing aids.

Auto ZoomControl is another exciting new feature which significantly improves how well speech can be picked up in high levels of background noise when SNR is very poor.

In this case, the hearing aids continually analyse the surroundings, monitoring the continuous noise level in the room against the volume of the voice signal in front of you. These two processes are measured independently and once the environment is static for 20 seconds the hearing aid
goes to work. The effect is that sound around you drops dramatically and the hearing aids begin to focus very closely to the front. It’s like going from a wide angle camera lens where everything is picked up to a stronger telephoto zoom lens that enables you to focus closely what’s in front of you.

As the hearing aid makes this analysis and adjustment automatically it means you have less chance of missing out on that all important conversation.

These features are in themselves impressive but the new technology just launched doesn’t limit self limit there. There are a suite of features which can further improve hearing quality, clarity and comfort some automatically activated other can be manually adjusted.

2013 looks like a great year for new developments in hearing enhancement. Our advice is come in and have a chat if you can with one of our team who cal explain how these features could help you to hear better.