ADRO is it the Best?

Re: ADRO as superior technology: No. It is not superior… it is simply another way of handling the problem of sounds being too loud for comfort. The vast majority of the mfg’s and dispensers prefer the WDRC method of handing loud sounds. Here is why.

Virtually 100% of the persons suffering most of the common severe forms of hearing loss also suffer some degree of recruitment. That is, loud sounds distort and cause discomfort. (reduced dynamic range)

The ADRO system is designed to slowly (slowly is a direct quote from the Dynamic Hearing professional instruction manual.) change gains to handle loud sounds (and too soft sounds). Typically gains change at the rate of 3db/second up to 9db/second. This rate is far too slow to control the loud transient sounds encountered in everyday life. So ADRO relies on a standard MPO (Maximum Power Output) circuit to catch the fast loud transients. MPO circuits generate distortion directly proportional to the amount of reduction required…in essence MPO’s are loudness clippers. They do not do a good job when pushed too far.

What this means is that ADRO is an excellent system for those with mild to moderate loss with a minimum of recruitment. It is not suitable for some of those with moderate loss and all of the severe/profound losses because of the usual accompanying recruitment.

WDRC aids handle loud transients by several methods. The fast and slow compression circuit (syllabic+dual) with adjustable knee point, often some form of sound smoothing in the pre amp stages and as a last resort a maximum output limiter. WDRC aids can be very flexible and can be adjusted to work satisfactorily with a wide variety of loss types. (syllabic=1 to 3 milliseconds…dual= .3 to 1 second)

For those with lots of recruitment WDRC is the way to go. Ed

I agree ADRO is superior technology in that it is preferred by many per research but I do think many of the older technologies are preferrred by many for both function and financial reasons.

We read here digital technology is not the best/preferred option for all people who need to aid their hearing.

I think finding an aid that works well for you is the important thing and just because it may be older technology does not mean the newer would be better.

We are in the good times of coming bad times we are told by some in the world of finance so buying what works for you for the least dollars makes the most sense.

cold hard fact:
the HI manf. had not embraced ADRO, in fact some like interton or phonak are moving away from adro to other fitting strategies…

It being new may make it expensive or they just do not want to go head to head with with those like America Hears and others who permit users to by pass the multi level marketing plans.

Hello Gale, Could you please expand on the multi level marketing plan idea. Who exactly is doing that? Although I am aware (and have been “caught up in”) marketers like HearingPlanet, I don’t believe they fit the MLM concept. I am curious to learn who does.
Thanks for the info.

Pam I was referring to my experience with Beltone and the layers taking a cut of the selling price. The office I visited worked under an office in another town that make the final decisions and they worked under corporate and then there must be a factory somewhere even if they own it or it owns Beltone.

The $4000 difference in prices for similar quality/feature hearing aids is mainly distribution cost difference as we have learned from Sam Walton.

This was the one thing that bit Amway. Because so many people wanted a slice of the pie it the distribution cost drove up the cost of goods sold.

The more times an aid touchs the hands of others before it goes in your ear the more you will pay for the same quality and features. :slight_smile:

Here are some links to descriptive material that may help those who are somewhat less technically oriented to follow this discussion.

ADRO Explained

WRDC Explained

Note that Dynamic Hearing’s “open platform” software (i.e., Digital Signal Processor firmware) currently implements either ADRO or WDRC on five different DSP chips. :cool:

Thus, the Voyageur DSP that is used by America Hears could offer either ADRO or WDRC because it uses that open software. :cool:

IMO, hearing aid companies that use private, proprietary firmware on their own proprietary DSP chips will ultimately be at a serious development cost disadvantage compared to open platform companies. :eek:

Kind of like how IBM passed up Apple about 30 years ago by going with the open platform vs. proprietary platform?

Thanks for the links too.

30 years ago Apple was still a tiny startup and IBM was a behemoth in the industry. Apple was packaging off-the-shelf components and extending the personal computer beyond the hobbyist, and IBM wasn’t even in that market.

And your Beltone discussion goes more to vertical integration than it does to multi-level marketing. Hearing aids sold by factory stores don’t pass from hand to hand to hand resulting in more markup, but that wouldn’t serve to make the point, would it.

You guys are playing fast and loose with the analogies in this thread and in the one discussing sports cars and luxury cars. :rolleyes:

(I know, I know, who peed in my Wheaties? :p)

Actually, 30 years ago IBM was a mainframe computer company, with completely closed direct marketing and had its own completely proprietary hardware and software.

Apple and Microsoft were startups still operating out of their garages. Some wild and crazy loons convinced IBM to invest in a “toy” computer that used a new Intel processor chip and some ripped-off toy software that Microsoft renamed “MSDOS”.

People bought that “IBM PC” like crazy and Intel made the processor chips in huge volume, making them better, faster, and cheaper every few years. Microsoft made the software better by copying Apple’s point and click interface, which, sure as hell, was better faster and cheaper than clumsy mainframe user interfaces. IBM’s direct marketing channel couldn’t handle the large volume, so PCs were sold thru new efficient sales channels.

The surprise for IBM was that Intel’s processor chips became faster than its own mainframe chips. Thus, today’s “servers” are packed with Intel chips, rather than IBM chips.

Game, Set, and Match for open, competitive, low priced, easy-to-use, easy-to-buy products!

May heaing aids follow a similar evolutionary path! :cool:

39 years ago I was programming on a IBM 360-20 card system so some of you may just be to young to remember what was happening ABOUT 30 years ago. I was also introduced to Amway 39 years ago as well. :slight_smile:

I may have been the only person ever asked to leave the Amway organization. :slight_smile:

In my view multi level marketing is when there are multi level of hands wanting a cut of the action. Sam Walton is one of the three business minds I used as a guiding principle. The other two were Henry Ford and Bill Gates. :slight_smile:

I started in the business 30 years ago, so I remember. And jchunter followed up with a good recap after my Readers Digest synopsis. And Beltone still wasn’t and isn’t MLM.

Now back to our regularly scheduled thread. ADRO, and in particular America Hears, offers a price performance that some of us in the fitting range find exceptional, and offers a good sound quality. It does the job we need it to do. ADRO may have certain limitations, and the AH hardware may not be bleeding edge technology, but the overall package of price, performance and service is a winner.

The funny thing Apple did fine in the long run compared to IBM in the hardware game and IBM morphed to being a service company.

Back to the subject I do agree the hearing aid companies that can compete with open platforms may do best. As JC links pointed out the ADRO and WRDC are two open platforms and both have advantages.

In the end the hearing aid vendors that add the most preceived value can be expected to gain the most market share. Just like in the RV industry today there are WAY too many hearing aid vendors to be cost effective and the channnel marketing is killing the growth of the industry. After the shake out in the hearing aid industry we will see the picture more clearly.

I promise you the $4000 price difference from one brand to the next that offer the same level of results will NOT remain a fact of life in the USA.

Obama promised this yesterday if you will listen to objectives of their meeting on waste in the health care industry.

I agree. Multi-level marketing increases the cost of sales enormously and can create huge distortions in consumer prices. (e.g., Kirby vacuum cleaners priced 4 - 5 times that of a Hoover at Walmart).

The essential step in PC evolution was the creation of efficient, high volume distribution channels. Dell, for example, replaced IBM’s clunky direct marketing organization, which had been structured for selling million dollar mainframes.

Dell simply assembled the computer, using parts bought from other companies (e.g., processor chips from Intel, operating system from Microsoft, etc.). Its most important function was to make it easy to buy (on the Internet) and easy to maintain (phone & Internet tech support).

The fact that another company filled this need (rather than IBM) was further progress in OPENING the system, which created a wonderful environment for new companies to jump in and carve out their own niches. (e.g., application software, memory chips, graphics boards, …).

No single company was able to lock up the PC distribution channel!:cool:

Disintermediation rocks! :cool:

IMO, America Hears could be the Dell of the hearing aid market. It really doesn’t matter whether ADRO is better than WDRC. What matters is that an OPEN platform will be able to supply any sound processing algorithm, including those that have not been invented yet. :cool:

Can’t help but comment and keep us even more off topic! The clickable GUI predates Apple substantially and was done by Xerox in the 1970’s (which included integrated networking like we see today).

As for your comment on intel chips and servers, intel has been making inroads into servers for sure but IBM most certainly makes its own processors for servers (pSeries and zSeries processor families). As far as raw performance (MIPS/FLOPS, whatever your metric is), there is probably not a big throughput difference, but intel falls flat on its face when it comes to server functions (error recovery/virtualiztion/smp scaling, etc). When you slide your credit card through the pump, the back end server probably does not have an ‘intel inside’ sticker on it. Todays mainframes are not the klunky JCL input machines of yesteryear, they have rolled with the changes and are able to make an virtualized LINUX server available in less time then it takes Bill Gates to take a pee (as one example)!

Continuing off topic, yes, Xerox gets credit for originating the point and click interface. The sad thing is that it was never able to do anything with the concept, except not to sue Apple and Microsoft for stealing the idea. :smiley:

IBM probably also has its own semiconductor fabs. The difference here is more subtle: 40 years ago mainframe circuit technology was bipolar - high speed and power hungry, while MOS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor) technology was slow and only useful for making memory chips. Within a decade, MOS got speedier and smaller. Intel made the first single chip processors (e.g., 8080) and later honed CMOS, which was faster and used less power. IBM was still wedded to Bipolar, which had pretty much reached its maximum speed. Sometime in the early 90s, CMOS processors broke even with bipolar in terms of MIPS (millions of instructions per sec). :eek:

Today, of course, Intel’s i7 cpu chips have four processors, which together, can execute 12 - 16 billion instructions per sec. You and I can buy them from low cost, high volume retailers like for $289!!

Isn’t this OPEN market wonderful? :cool:

LMAO! I like your comment about Xerox’s big contribution, personally I think it’s a shame to have seen the true technological leader thrown by the wayside, but it was thiers to lose.

There are many reasons CMOS displaced Bipolar, but speed was not it. The basic physics of bipolar (minority carrier) and CMOS (majority carrier) means bipolar of the same technology will be faster. You are right that bipolar is killed off due to power and device size (geometry). IBM abandoned bipolar on mainframes about 1992-3, and it was not for another 2+ years that they offered a CMOS machine with equivalent performance and this was achieved by throwing a lot more lower frequency CMOS circuits to get to this point. I doubt very much that intel had the first CMOS microprocessor, I can tell you for sure, IBM had a dedicated CMOS fab plant in operation in the mid 1980s (it’s still in operation in Burlington, VT). The first IBM POWER uPs were CMOS I believe, but I gotta believe someone else made a CMOS uP even earlier. Remember, back in the early 80’s Intel was a tiny company founded by guys that had left Fairchild, it was 20 years old and I certainly did not consider their uPs as standout. They just happen to draw a lucky card (if I picked the uP for the PC, they’d say Motorola inside!).

Open systems can help us all both in cost and performance. This discussion must have been in the back of my mind when I posted the possibility of a standard hardware platform in another thread. Imaging paying $xxx (no! $xx!) for the unprogrammed hearing aid (hardware), and then jumping on the web; downloading and trying the Phonak algorithm (free 30 day trial!), then Siemens, then Starky, … Finally making your decision and paying the $xxx (no! $xx!) for the permenant license! I don’t think I’ll ever see the day, but we can hope!

Intel had the first successful microprocessor line. (4004, 8080, 8086, 80286,…) Many other companies were trying out the concept. Texas Instruments, for example, had successful calculator products based on their MOS microprocessors in the mid 1970s and big plans for small computers. HP created a very fast NMOS processor that could also be used as a space heater. :smiley: Of course, Motorola also had a very successful line of processors for Apple’s Macintosh.

However, Intel’s chip volume was greatest and this allowed for lower prices, better profits, and effective competition, which allowed Intel to become the defacto open CPU standard, (although AMD is still in there competing).

The essential lesson for the HA industry is: Open, efficient, high volume, low cost, products and markets determine the long term winners. (to bring this thread back on topic.) :cool:

Most HA DSP chips are still using ancient 130nm technology. These DSPs are ripe for shrinks to 85 or 65nm, which could be made on Intel’s existing fabs (that will become available as Intel transitions to 32nm). This could put the HA industry into overdrive! :cool:

Is the limiting factor battery power rather than internal chip physical size ??? Just asking. Ed

No. Battery life would be significantly increased. In fact, shrinking any CMOS chip to a smaller geometry reduces the power consumed by every transistor and makes it switch faster. This would permit a faster clock, which could speed up the instruction execution rate. Audio processing functions have to complete in a few milliseconds in order to be unnoticeable by the wearer.