I’ve tried it from a fitters point of view.
First off, it’s a very complicated candidacy process. But thankfully the software evaluates if the program should be used or not and indicates as such upon fitting.
The hearing professional has two controls, the range of frequencies to be copied and pasted (so to speak) and the volume of the transposed sound versus the rest of the amplification.
Again Inspire 2012 determines these two variables based on a formula. The hearing professional has substantial adjustment over both variables and of course can switch the feature on or off at will
So when I am doing an initial demo, because I am aware that this is such a new and unique program I have been asking patients (without telling them about the feature or what I am doing) to listen to my voice, then I tell them I am going to change a setting and ask them if they prefer my voice in this new setting (which is me turning the feature off).
In my fairly non-scientific study, I’d say that 25% of candidates prefer the sound. 25% find no difference in the sound. 50% prefer the system turned off.
Now on the surface, this may seem like a rejection of the system, but remember this is introducing an unnatural sounding concept, which will take longer to get used to. Starkey have done a bunch of scientific tests with word discrim and the S test, and they found an improvement in speech understanding, but a massive leap in S test scores.
So it would seem that while many patients initially are not head over heals about the way it sounds, I suspect that with the right candidates they will in the longer term hear and understand language better, even if initially it might sound a bit unusual.
Bottom line, it is an awesome tool to have available to switch on or off at will. If you are dealing with a patient with severe high tone loss, this can make all the difference in the world.
I also applaud Starkey for adding this feature and giving existing patients free access to it (assuming the technology they own is capable of providing this) without charging them for an upgrade or making them buy some new aid or other item to get it.