I have had my Sebotek six channel aids for a month now. I HATE THEM !!
Why, because everything is amplified and my audiologist wants to upgrade them to 12 channels.
question will this help? she has tried to fine tune them three times with little success.
what drives me nuts is that i can hear every little thing, and i dont want to . all i am really interested in is hearing one noise at a time.
Say i am a clock, i am in the middle. all i want is the ability to hear the person at 12 0’ clock, everything else is irrelevant. i watch the t.v. i want to hear just the t.v and not my wife on her cell-phone in the back ground.
Hearing aids key in on the speech frequencies so to the hearing aid, speech 10 feet this way and speech 10 feet that way are the same thing and the noise supression would not supress it out. It may be possible with those aids to concentrate on speech in front of you (I’m not familiar with them) but, otherwise, it is something you will get used to. You are probably not used to hearing everything and there are a lot of sounds out there your brain has not had to deal with. Now it does and it will adjust over time (a few months).
A “Channel” is a channel of compression. Which compress louder sounds above a specific volume threshold. Dicing up the sound spectrum into pieces allows the aid to reduce a loud sound in a part of the sound field without reducing, thus preserving, it in others. There is NO scientific evidence that there is much better hearing improvement, even in noise, than anything more than three (3) channels. There is a very slight improvement through six (6) channels, but then NOTHING, zero, better than that. You know marketing and consumers, higher numbers must be better.
You claim that there is no scientific benefit to exceed six channels, but that rather depends which scientist you choose to believe.
If we look at television for example, we know that as long as an image can be refreshed completely more than 12 times per second, the human brain interprets the images as moving, rather than a series of static images. So you could argue that there is little benefit to updating an image 24 frames per second, 60 or even 120. But the fact is many modern TVs do update the image on the screen 10 times more than is really necessary, and produce stunning images as a result.
Back to hearing aids, it is also important to note that it is rare in hearing aids for the ONLY difference between models to be the number of channels/bands used. There is often a lot more going on between models, but manufacturers simply use the number of channels as a starting off point.
What they don’t always mention is that there may be many more filters at work that can help, perhaps a faster processor, enhanced background noise reduction, some super fancy directional mic system, where the lessor model perhaps has their standard version of the technology. Maybe some of the filters for background noise are more sensitive and adjustable in the higher models.
So if you are talking about scientific tests in a lab setting comparing a hearing aid with three channels, to a hearing aid with six channels with no other difference between them you might have a point. But that is rarely how hearing aids actually are in the real world. As you move up the model range there are always other enhancements too that take place.
Even if you want to take the position that manufacturers are evil and just want to make the most profit, it is logical they are going to save their best tricks for their more expensive hearing aids, otherwise people would never buy top of the line.
There’s also a couple of other reasons I completely disagree with your post. One is that more channels means less approximation of the hearing loss. If I have at least eight, I can adjust closer to the audiometric results than I can with say three channels.
When it comes to background noise or feedback cancellation, if a 16 channel hearing aid detects some unwanted background noise or feedback problem, it can individually turn down 1/16th of the sound to tackle the problem. Whereas a three channel hearing aid could find itself cutting back on 1/3rd of the sound, thus attacking frequencies that shouldn’t be cut at all.
I’ve attended some technical lectures from some of the lead scientists at Starkey, and their research shows that 16 channels gives them the best results. Beyond that there is an obvious law of diminishing returns because you need more processing power to handle the extra channels, and you get to the point where you are wasting processing time on the extra channels at the cost of other features or power consumption.
Finally having said all this, you can’t just take a discussion about channels and assume that’s what hearing aids are all about. There’s the issue of bands, crossover, sample rate, processing speed, distortion levels, efficiency of feedback management, circuit noise created when the aid self adjusts, and then a few x-factors about each individual aids, the sum is greater than the individual components.
So I believe we simply don’t have enough information to say that there is no benefit in taking this upgrade. All that said, I would never buy a hearing aid from some tiny little company like this. While their owners claim that ‘God’ showed them how to make hearing aids (according to their web site), they can’t really compete with the R&D money spent by the major players like Starkey, ReSound, Widex, Oticon, Siemens, & Phonak. So if it were me, I’d be seeing what the major players can do. I didn’t mind buying a BMW, despite their small market share, but I’m not going to go buy a TVR.
As a follow up example, I recently did a trouble shoot for a new dispenser. The patient was describing an oddness to the sound that he could not really define other than a ‘sharpness’ that he didn’t like.
I carefully reviewed the test, and noticed that the hearing professional, who was a newbie, had failed to test at 1500Hz. So the hearing aid had been forced to assume the results at that frequency.
Now in testing 1500Hz is optional, but the jump from 1000Hz to 2000Hz, was about 40dB, so under proper test procedure you’d want to see where the mid octave result falls. If 1000 is at 20 and 2000 is at 60, 1500 could be at say 30 or 50, and that in turn would make a big difference how much power the aid gives at that frequency.
In this example, I was able to test at that missing frequency, add that to the fitting prescription, and smooth off that specific frequency which solved the problem. But I was working with a 16 channel product.
Now imagine for a moment that I only had three channels, but I had tested at 250,500,750,1000,1500,2000,3000,4000,6000,8000. That’s 10 frequencies I checked. In a case where a patient has significant differences from one frequency to another, I am certainly taking a near enough approach the results. With three channels the best I can do is take an average of the test results and get close. But it’s not ideal. And the more complicated the loss, the less ideal it becomes.
Take someone with a very flat or smooth loss, and it makes less difference, except for the point I already made about other features being introduced on higher end aids.