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Re: Hearing Assist Technologies


Almost everyone I know with a severe to profound loss needs to simultaneously use both their hearing aid (or implant) and assistive listening technology.  We use the hearing aid T-coil with assistive technology at concerts.  At large theaters (not multiplex), high-quality FM systems can provide good sound quality provided that the coupling to the T-coils are good.
Inductive stereo ear hooks plugged into a stereo FM receiver instead of a neckloop can improve the sound reception because the coupling the the hearing aid is better.  Most people with severe losses should have T-coils in their aids. (Some also have other coupling methods, but hearing aid users still need to be able to benefit from wide-area induction loops).

Assistive listening systems can have two advantages. One is being able to use the prescription hearing aid amplification while picking up sound directly from the concert sound system without reverberation which gives a good SNR.  A separate personal receiver gives an additional way to control gain besides that of the hearing aid.  The dynamic range of some concerts can exceed the usable dynamic range of people with severe recruitment along with severe hearing loss. 

If a wide-area induction loop is used instead of personal receivers, the second gain control is lost, but the high SNR advantage is still there.

Multiplex theater need to use IR to avoid cross-talk.  Most of the  cheaper IR headset are useless, without any way to plug in a neckloop. Removing the hearing aid would lose more than was gained.

If a bone conduction headset bypassed or modified the reception by the hearing aid's amplifier, it would not be helpful.

Margaret Mortz

On Sun, Jun 6, 2010 at 3:46 PM, Matthew McCabe <mccabem@xxxxxxx> wrote:
hi everyone,

i've been charged with assessing how to expand our hearing assist system in our concert hall.  we currently have infrared transmitters, and a number of headsets that use loop-induction and earbud-type amplification, but our campus accessibility officer isn't too keen on those things and feels that they don't serve those with more severe hearing deficits.

does anyone know of other technologies that can help people beyond those with mild to moderate hearing loss?

my first thought is bone conduction headphones, which could serve those with conductive hearing loss, and possibly people with cochlear implants. the up side to those is that they do not cover the ears, so individuals with in-ear hearing aids could use them too -- and they are considerably more comfortable than earbuds (i love mine for air travel!)

any other technology or ideas out there for helping the hearing impaired recieve concert-hall sound?  is there research on this topic?


dr. matthew mccabe  <mccabe_matthew@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
visiting assistant professor  ::  music technology  ::  columbus state university
office:  schwob school of music 2706  ::  phone:  706-452-1337 :: fax 706-256-9555