hearing aids

David Kastrup dak at messua.informatik.rwth-aachen.de
Mon Mar 20 02:47:55 EST 1995

hartman at das.harvard.edu (Anthony Hartman) writes:

>I am not sure that this is the proper place to ask, but rec.audio
>seemed even more unlikely. Is there a source for information regarding
>the manufacturers and brands of hearing aids? Are there any advantages
>in getting the larger in-the-ear or the external type. Perhaps they
>can do some more sophisticated sound processing or filtering. 
>Finally, are there any devices that deal with the problem of background
>noise well enough to understand a conversation in a crowded room?

The external type can mostly use larger batteries, and thus more
power. The sound processing currently performed by the typical
devices is not much. The background noise problem is being worked
on by scientists, but I don't think the commercial situation will
much improve in the next 5 years or so. Most approaches need
more than one microphone, by the way.

The problem with background noise is also that the device has to
decide which noise is background and which not. The human hearing
does this by focusing, a mental activity. Hearing aids cannot know
what you want to hear, so they have to guess. Most of the times
this means guessing a front speaker is to be preferred over other
David Kastrup, Goethestr. 20, D-52064 Aachen        Tel: +49-241-72419
  Email: dak at pool.informatik.rwth-aachen.de         Fax: +49-241-79502

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