No doubt you have read about the effects of listening to loud music on your iPod or MP3 player. I will spare you the education and scare stories surrounding this issue. If you’re one of the people who has been affected then this clever innovation may be music to your ears.
The SoundLens™ made by Starkey Laboratories is a tiny capsule that fits deep inside your ear canal. Based upon your hearing loss, it shapes the sound by way of a tiny microprocessor smaller than the head of a match.
In case you’re thinking “hey, isn’t this a hearing aid”? Well, yes and no. By providing amplification to an otherwise impaired ear then yes one could describe it as a hearing aid – but it does so much more. It splits the incoming sound into 16 different frequencies and shapes the sound to match the hearing loss. This is a bit like a graphic equalizer with 16 sliders. The SoundLens™ is programmed by way of a computer to achieve this. SoundLens™ has built in artificial intelligence, capable of learning and adapting to each acoustic environment.
Although the SoundLens™ is fully automatic in every way, some individuals may still feel the urge to meddle with the settings. Well guess what – there’s an App for that.
The Starkey T2 App has 2 functions. Firstly it enables the SoundLens™ wearer to make adjustments to various settings. Pre-programmed memories can be selected to suit the wearer’s individual preferences. Perhaps the most interesting element of the T2 software is that it can be programmed and reprogrammed by an appropriate professional, from anywhere in the world. They literally “dial in” to the iPhone and by holding the phone close to the SoundLens™, the device can be reprogrammed. There’s many, many other clever things that the Starkey SoundLens™ can do, such as automatically detecting the presence of a mobile phone and enhancing it’s signal.
You can find out more about this and other technologies for the hearing impaired at www.hearingaid.org.uk .