Hearing Aid Features Detail
Voice Aligned Compression (VAC+)
The VAC approach falls within the family of Wide Dynamic Range Compression (WDRC). WDRC is essentially the standard for fitting sensorineural hearing loss. Within the family of WDRC, there are options on some rather important dimensions. Most WDRC applications in digital hearing aids use "linear" compression, meaning a fixed compression ratio is used once the signal is between the primary kneepoint (usually 45 or 50 dB SPL) and the output limit. However, in more sophisticated applications, the kneepoint of compression and the compression ratio can be implemented in a more strategic manner. The VAC approach uses much lower primary kneepoints (varying between 30 and 40 dB, depending on frequency region, amount of hearing loss and Identity setting) and curvilinear compression, with higher gain and compression ratios for softer speech input levels. For higher input levels, the compression ratios decrease, with significantly lower gain applied. This compression model is based on data out of Northeastern University (Buus & Florentine, 2001) and represents a more natural solution to restoring the audibility and loudness perception lost with sensorineural hearing loss. Oticon has refined and continued to improve this process. We have two fundamental goals with the VAC approach: To provide excellent gain for speech in the soft to moderate range, where users with SNHL need audibility help for soft speech sounds and can typically handle significant compression without the loss of signal integrity. To provide a more linear response in the moderate to loud range. We believe that near linearity allows the best access to speech information when background noise is present (as is common in moderate to loud environments). The initial patient reaction to our approach to compression has been very positive. Reports from new and experienced hearing aid users emphasized naturalness and sound quality as key qualities appreciated using the VAC. Audibility for softer speech sounds was noticed and appreciated, while acceptance and comfort in louder, more demanding situations has not been sacrificed.
Donald J. Schum, Ph.D./CCC-A
Audiology & Professional Relations
Oticon, New Jersey
Inium Sense Platform
The heartbeat of this system is the quad-core Inium Sense processor, the most advanced and efficient wireless signal processing chip Oticon has ever built. The Inium Sense processor provides the power to exchange vital, real-time information continually and seamlessly between both ears for more natural, authentic sound. The Inium Sernse processor’s computing and memory power drives a new generation of exclusive Oticon features: Speech Guard E, for clearer speech; Spatial Sound Premium to support spatial awareness; Free Focus, for advanced directionality; Feedback Shield, for high-fidelity feedback cancellation; YouMatic, for advanced personalization; Soft Speech Booster, for personalization of perception of soft elements of speech to improve clarity; and Tinnitus Support to personalize sound therapy for tinnitus sufferers. A new generation of ConnectLine products provide more advanced and flexible wireless connectivity. Inium Sense delivers exceptional performance, small size and ultra-low power consumption: a revolution of the senses.
Speech Guard E preserves the vital speech envelope in order to produce a clearer and more detailed speech signal compared to traditional compression systems.
Oticon introduced the original Speech Guard to the industry as an ingenious approach to signal processing that makes it easier to understand speech in noisy environments. Speech Guard preserves speech dynamics and allows the auditory system to receive more detailed information in the speech signal.
How does it work?
Speech Guard E delivers the benefits of both linear and nonlinear (WDRC) systems — maintaining audibility, preventing discomfort and safeguarding speech dynamics — without the drawbacks. By better preserving onsets and offsets of words and phonemes, Speech Guard E keeps voices distinct from one another and separates them more clearly from competing background noise.
With Speech Guard E, users get built-in support for selecting and switching between speakers and following and engaging in conversations — intuitively and with less effort. Better understanding. Less fatigue. With Speech Guard E, the hearing experience has truly evolved.
Speech Guard E
Spatial Sound Premium, with true binaural processing
paints a sharper, richer picture.
Knowing where sounds are coming from and reacting to them instinctively. It’s something we take for granted ... unless we have hearing loss.
And, it has proven highly demanding to preserve important cues of this information in a hearing solution ... until Oticon launched the original Spatial Sound. Spatial Sound better preserves the sound signal’s natural characteristics so you can better organize your acoustic environment and choose which sounds or voices to focus on.
How does it work?
The OT H33v2 Spatial Sound Premium brings this technology to a new platform, using the high 10KHz bandwidth, smooth frequency response and real-time binaural processing speed of the Inium Sense processor to enhance spatial cues. Spatial Sound Premium also responds to asymmetrical sound scenes by automatically attenuating noise at the ear with the poorer signal-to-noise ratio. The result is a more realistic soundscape ... and more natural interaction with the world around you.
With true real-time binaural processing
made possible by Inium Sense, both right and left OT H33v2 devices continually communicate to
preserve interaural level differences, enabling you to better detect where sounds are coming from.
The OT H33v2 Feedback Shield creates
an exceptional listening experience.
One of the most common challenges in designing a hearing instrument platform is the feedback paradox: how to prevent feedback without increasing artifacts and decreasing sound quality. Feedback Shield meets the challenge, delivering a dramatic reduction in feedback. And because it is designed to meet Oticon’s high standards of signal fidelity, speech intelligibility, sound quality and comfort, Feedback Shield avoids the significant distortion common with other feedback approaches and maintains full, appropriate gain. The result is clearer, more feedback-free sound, even in difficult situations.
How does it work?
The main purpose of Feedback Shield is to prevent whistling and howling by canceling re-amplified output signals that are looped into the signal path. The intelligent balance of frequency
shifting and phase inversion in Feedback
Shield effectively removes feedback.
Maintaining the best possible signal fidelity
is fundamental to speech understanding and
listener acceptance. Where other anti-feedback
systems create significant distortions and superimpose clicks and other artifacts
onto the original signal, Feedback Shield
Full, appropriate gain is crucial to audibility.
Many Digital Feedback Cancelation systems reduce gain to eliminate feedback, which compromises audibility. The gain manager in Feedback Shield optimizes and ensures audibility even in difficult situations.
Getting the loudness and clarity you need without annoying whistles.
The new, exclusive YouMatic feature in The OT H33v2 is what makes “more personal” possible. YouMatic is what enables you to factor more personal dimensions into the hearing instrument’s reactions and responses, and enables you to address your unique perception and enjoyment of sound. The key to this unprecedented level of personalization is the OT H33v2's signal processing, which performs constant environment detection and analysis and maps this information to your hearing abilities, needs, and preferences. By combining these inputs, YouMatic can provide real-time adjustment of instrument response times, focus mode, noise management settings, transient management and compression changes to give you a highly personalized listening experience.
High Performance Personalization
Free Focus provides directionality
OT H33v2's Free Focus directionality feature adds a new level of freedom to your hearing experience and enables you to add a dimension of personalization as well.
More modes. More choices.
Free Focus gives you two new basic modes to choose from: Optimized Omni or Speech-focused. Your personal profile will help you decide which one is right for you. Both
of these modes are designed to improve speech
understanding in groups, crowds and background noise by providing access to the speech signal without compromising comfort and contextual and spatial awareness. A new Full Directionality with Low Frequency Enhancement mode adds further directionality support for those with severe to profound hearing losses.
How does it work?
All five Free Focus modes work with OT H33v2's other features to meet your preferences for a hearing experience that delivers optimum focus without overload. Free Focus directionality is implemented by OT H33v2's signal processing to provide the best signal-to-noise performance
and support your auditory system to maintain a sense of naturalness, comfort and audibility.
Free Focus: more freedom to focus, more freedom to understand.
Automatic directionality personalization
Linking the behavior of left and right hearing aids allows for the linking of directional microphones, compression control, feedback control, improving the signal to noise ratio, and reducing artifact, thereby improving understanding ability.
The brain uses differences in level, phase and timing between the ears to help us localize and orient us to our environment. By having the hearing aids exchange information about the environment in real time, they work together as a system to provide the cleanest signal for the brain to use for interpretation.
Binaural processing in the OT H33v2 improves:
Constant wireless communication between the right and left instruments allows each instrument to use information gathered from the other side in making processing decisions for obtaining the best possible Signal-to-Noise-Ratio (SNR) in any environment. The OT H33v2 synchronizes environment classification, microphone state, feedback, wind noise, interaural level differences, and compression.
"Binaural synchronization allows state changes in automatic adaptive features such as directionality and noise reduction to be made simultaneously on both hearing aids. This processing allows correlation of fast acting
parameters such as compression for preservation of a proper stereophonic image.
The intent is to improve sound localization
and sound stability in fast-changing situations by preserving ear-to-ear level differences."
This feature links the hearing aids together for coordinated action of program and volume control.
Binaural Noise Management
Wireless communication between the left and right instrument allows the OT H33v2 to determine the signal with the best possible Signal to Noise Ratio and present you the cleanest signal, giving your brain the best possible information to correctly interpret your acoustic environment.
Tri-State Noise Management System focuses on speech
This system monitors the presence of speech in the environment. In parallel, it monitors the overall level and the Signal to Noise Ratio independently in each channel. The information as to the presence or absence of speech, channel specific level and channel-specific Signal to Noise Ratio is combined to determine appropriate further modifications of the gain levels in each of the channels. The Tri-State Noise Management System employs a multi-layered set of evaluation criteria, with confirmation that the chosen collection of settings meets the particular goal for that subsystem, with the overall goal of the system being that speech should be prioritized.
From Schum, Donald, "Artificial Intelligence: The New Advanced Technology in Hearing Aids"
15 Personal Profiles
Personal profiles combine and coordinate features of the Inium Sense digital signal processor that allows you to choose your preferences for sound quality.
Each Personal Profile has 3 additional adjustments to further personalize your experience and adjust to your personal preferences.
Artificial Intelligence Premium
Artificial Intelligence is implemented in the Voice Priority Processing (VPP) system which combines all signal processing approaches: Multi-band Adaptive Directionality, TriState Noise Management, Free Focus, Transient Management, Spacial Sound, Speech Guard E, and Voice Aligned Compression Plus. All of these systems are designed to work in progressive optimization of the signal with the focus on speech. The unity of one single processing goal ensures that all systems are working in synergy and not in opposition.
Multi-band Adaptive Directionality
Conventional, fixed directional systems cannot split the signal into different frequency bands for individual processing - they must operate either in Directional or Surround Mode in all frequencies simultaneously. This also means that they can lock onto and cancel only one source of noise at a time. The OT H33v2 uses Multiband Adaptive Directionality to split the signal into multiple frequencies. This enables it to remain in directional mode longer and to suppress multiple noise sources simultaneously.
In noisy restaurants or other crowded areas, the directionality system is designed to make people opposite you easier to hear. Whenever you move from one environment to another, the OT H33v2 automatically switches to the best setting, to help you focus more easily.
Smart Noise Control
It is difficult to identify a subtle preference for sound quality with a short duration sample. The OT H33v2 can gradually learn your preferences over time in different classifications of the soundscape. You may be given manual control through "on-board" programmable switches, via remote control or smartphone application, any changes you make to adjust for listening preference as you wear your hearing instruments are logged. The features and processing of the hearing instruments are gradually changed to accomodate your preferences and you will find yourself reducing the times you feel a need to adjust.
Music is a very different acoustic signal that conversational speech. The algorithms intended to improve speech perception and clarity in the presence of background noise will often reduce the perceived quality of music. The OT H33v2 with its extended bandwidth, ability to handle a wide range of input levels, smooth frequency response, and flexible programming options allows the audiologist to personalize and improve your perception of music. The music widening feature for streamed music creates a more natural listening experience.
Signal Processing optimized for music listening
Music Widening applies advanced reverberation research to reproduce a sense of space and realism to streamed music. The effect is dramatic. Instead of music being perceived as being heard in the middle of the listener's head, streamed music is heard as if the listener was actually sitting in the same room as the performance.
When listening to recorded music, all the characteristics of the room add or detract to the enjoyment of the sounds that are heard - creating a sense of spaciousness for the listener. Here the music is perceived directly from the speakers as well as the reflections from the walls.
When music is streamed to hearing devices or through headphones the perception of the room in which the sound was originally played is lost. This loss of information results in the sound being located inside their head.
Music widening restores spaciousness to the listening experience. By employing a mathematical algorithm, virtual reflections are created designed to trick the brain into thinking it is hearing music within an acoustical space.
Music Widening adds
the perception of depth
and spaciousness to streamed sound.
Through the Streamer Pro, OT H33v2 devices put you in wireless connection to cell phones, tablets, computers, Hearing Loops, TVs, home and business phones, remote microphones or personal FM systems. It creates a remote control through a smart phone app for even more convenient control of your devices.
Inspired by the principles of inclusive design,
the new Streamer Pro was developed
systematically, incorporating advances in
technology and valuable user experience with
our first generation Streamer. The resulting
Streamer Pro better meets both basic and
advanced user needs. Streamer Pro was designed to provide a very simple and intuitive user interface. This was achieved through a combination of end user testing and a new user interface where more advanced features can be customized specifically for you. This design allows you to benefit from the convenience of a Streamer Pro tailored just for you.
10 KHz Bandwidth
The fast processing speed and sampling rate of the quad-core Inium Sense chip allows the reproduction of higher frequencies than were available for hearing instrument processors in the past. In addition, improvement in speaker (hearing instrument receiver) technology have afforded a smooth, broad frequency respone. Extended bandwidth results in a more natural and clear sound.
Soft Speech Booster with Voice Aligned Compression Plus (VAC+)
With 30% more processing power than the previous processor, Inium Sense provides more complete support for how the brain processes sound.
Soft sound perception varies greatly among patients because each person’s brain and auditory system process soft inputs differently. This presents a challenge because soft, high frequency speech sounds are part of about 75% of everyday
listening environments, not just quieter, one-on-one communications. Soft Speech Booster and VAC+ provide the ability to customize soft gain based on your unique perception of sound for a more personalized fitting that performs in a full range of everyday listening environments.
– an integrated sound generator –
Tinnitus SoundSupport sets a new standard
for sound generators, as it is the first to offer
built-in ocean sounds in addition to a large
number of sound options and adjustment
This feature is available in BTE, RITE and the new compact miniRITE style, which sits even more discreetly on the ear.
Voice Aligned Compression
Inium Sense Platform
Speech Guard E
Spatial Sound Premium
Free Focus Premium
Binaural Noise Management
Tri-State Noise Management
15 Personal Profiles
Artificial Intell. Premium
Multiband Adaptive Direct.
Music Widening/Power Bass
Soft Speech Booster
OT H 33v2 TI Premium class
The information on this page has been gathered from Oticon sources.
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