I’m of the opinion that HAs should reproduce all noise faithfully. It’s up to the brain to sort it out. Otherwise you end up with this situation when you’re experiencing the environment through a constantly changing graphic equaliser.
I don’t normally post on forums but this is a core point for me. Please forgive my lengthy post.
For those who can process such I would agree this should be an OPTION. For the rest of us I couldn’t disagree more. I never realized how much sound is actually noise pollution until about 2 yrs ago when I was struck with SNHL.
For context my max loss is ~70db and word recognition is low 40s. I demoed many different aids and settled on a pair of Phonak Audeo v90s and Starkey Halo 2400s. I’ve tried custom domes and was disappointed to find little to no difference.
One of the initial side effects of my SNHL was that sounds that I could register were suddenly very different and I had to relearn how to interpret them. Airplanes sounded like flutes and slide whistles, dogs like alien creatures, and what I could hear of female voices sounded like a cross between the chipmunks and Charlie Browns teacher. interestingly over little more than a year my brain has remapped sounds and most things sound much more like I remember they used to but it is always like having an audio effects chain including a tunnel, a baffle and a fuzzbox among other filters.
It is important to keep in mind that there are two parts to hearing, volume and clarity. Hearing aids can address volume but can’t do anything for clarity other than reducing the volume of less desirable sounds. It even appears that their noise reduction is simply a lack of amplification rather than actual noise cancelation. Any industry programmers on this forum?
I have found no algorithms for audio “sharpening” or an inverse fuzzbox effect.
Noise is a HUGE issue for me. With hearing aids I still miss many more words than normal in conversations under the best scenarios. Telephone conversations are problematic under the best conditions. I can’t watch TV as I can’t understand enough of the conversations and soundtracks tend to sound like howling banshees. I avoid restaurants as with aids they are way to loud and loud restaurants are such horrible noises at high volumes without them. On the rare occasions when I do go out I take earplugs with me.
When driving I can not make out what song is playing on the radio or understand conversation with or without aids which brings me to my point. Most sound I do not want amplified! If the aids were to amplify conversation without amplifying the road/car noise I might be able to actually hear someone in a car. Most of the time my hearing aids are turned off no matter where I am.
Road noise is loud enough. The toilet is loud enough. Coughs and sneezes are loud enough. Machinery, fans (even a simple table fan), and one of my favorites I ran into at work, white noise generators are loud enough and all interfere with my ability to hear spoken words when amplified. A conversation in a car or listing to AM radio traffic reports simply isn’t going to happen with current technology/methodology.
Thankfully there are some (minor) efforts underway to address this for example Sonova last year conducted two clinical trials on noise reduction and is currently recruiting for another. And as I found out in a discussion with the manufacturing manager at Advance Bionics the industry is finally moving from the time domain to the frequency domain (used in analog form in radars and other applications since the 1950s and in digital environments since the 1970s)
As for a variable graphic equalizer PLEASE I NEED ONE preferably with many memory slots for presets (I am in fact working on making something along these lines). One setting fits all does not work well for different circumstances or even for different people under the same circumstance. I find the different “programs” (an abuse of the word BTW) to be a blunt tool yielding little real help. This is opposite of the industry mindset that hearing aids can and should self adjust providing “effortless hearing.”
I find my noise canceling headphones and graphic equalizer to be far more effective than my hearing aids for watching TED talks, training courses, and YouTube videos. Being adjustable “on the fly” to minimize undesirable sounds and correct for audio differences is key.
One hearing aid manufacture described the challenge they faced was like fitting an elephant into a suitcase. But I find I don’t want the whole elephant, I just want its ears.