Your DREAM features for future hearing aids


#1

As I took my winter stroll today, decked out in snug, warm wool hat with earmuffs pressed over my sunglasses - the incessant shushing sound of my HAIR rubbing on top of the BTE mics, I got to thinking …

What if we were to post our list of “dream features” for future hearing aids? I’m reading a lot about AI, data mining, program functions, yada yada for aids, but what I’m not seeing on the market is my own personal list of dream features.

Please post yours. Who knows? Maybe someone from one of the HA makers will stumble across this thread and build our wishes into future aids, instead of run off in a tech-oriented direction to serve up functionality that misses the boat.

MY DREAM LIST

  • Comfort and an optimal seal for the receivers in my ear canals. Maybe a flexible material that would not cause allergic reaction, but would effectively remove any chance for leaky-squeaky feedback. The matchstick-shaped, long receiver with BTEs is simply not comfy to jam into our curved ear canals.
  • Superior SPEECH handling in a variety of environments: noisy places, over concert-loud music, from soft-spoken speakers. Perhaps be able to stream conversation like we stream phone calls, TVs and laptops.
  • Optimal mic placement. Somehow, get the mic AND receiver into the cup of the ear. Why do BTE aids have the mic sit like an 11th finger over the backs of our ears? The mic points at the ceiling, rustles when even brushed lightly by hair, hats, glasses frames. Couldn’t aids be curled up IN the ear cup for better sound quality and the end of distorted noise?
  • Truly flexible ear wire - Most of the ear wires with BTE aids has a muleish memory that prevents it from laying FLAT against our ears and not sticking out to catch on combs, fingers, etc.
  • Zany color choices - Our aids could be a design statement or something unobtrusive if folks prefer. We need more than BMW car colors out there!

Well, this is a start. If I think of other things, I’ll come back and add to this list. What would YOU like to see in the perfect pair of aids?


#2

The mics in the ear is why I wear ITE aids. My only dream for my hearing would be to have my hearing back so I could understand speech reguardless of where I am and where the speech is coming from.


#3

OH, I LOVE your idea of asking for dream features! I lost one of my old Oticon Deltas, almost 12 months ago, and it has been hell trying to get new HA’s that are physically comfortable. I want a RIC receiver that can be bent to fit small, twisty, extremely sensitive ear canals- instead of these big, fat straight sticks!


#4

If we are dreaming, then an IIC with all power and all features, with connectivity with all Bluetooth devices (connecting to 4 devices at once) and to DECT phone connectivity for standard office phone headset ability. Weekly rechargeable.

It should recognize not just speech, but individuals. Sit down at a table and ask everyone to introduce themselves to my hearing aids. Then lower everything else 10db and concentrate on the individuals at the table. Include the waiter in the introduction.

It should remember all those who have introduced themselves.

That’s all.


#5

I’ve been wondering for a little while why you are in a RIC and not a BTE with a silicone mold.


#6

My wish would be to have a hearing aid that would allow me to hear music again, regardless of having a profound loss. I really miss music.
Having a better understanding of speech would also be nice.


#7

I don’t care about cellphone connectivity, rechargeable batteries, or all the other stuff that seems so important to hearing aid makers. I just want them to sound natural. They could even be analog. I have two sets of Phonaks and they both have a very unpleasant sound. If I reduce the gain to cut the unpleasantness, it is like there is nothing at all there. They sound like they are using crystal microphones. I know, most folks here are too young to remember them. They were used on lower end audio equipment and used the piezoelectric effect. They were high impedance and had a fairly high output, making the associated circuitry simpler. But, they always sounded tinny. Just like my high end Phonaks. I have been told that I will never hear a lot of the higher frequencies because of profound loss, but hearing enough of the speech frequencies to be able to understand people would be enough. So, my one big want is a natural sound.


#8

John I know what you are saying. I don’t have profound hearing loss yet but I am sure I will soon. I have come to except the fact that even with aids I will never hear a clear sound again without a miracle.
I just except the fact my days of being able to hear anything near normal is gone just like seeing like someone normal is gone. I also realize that as hard as they try they cannot create hearing aids that can do for us what glasses can do.


#9

Cv kemp, still hoping that more research is done on the WIDE hearing loss variables that we experience. With more and more baby boomers needing HA’s, hope this will be the case. I wish government money was available, rather than some corporate hack deciding if the R & D costs were worth it.


#10

Your wish here makes me wonder about the possibility of using voice recognition technology to literally “translate” speech as it goes through the aids. Granted … this could be verrrrrrry problematic if it’s not done right, but similar tech is used to translate spoken word into written word, for instance for phone messages.

It is far, FAR from perfect, and many times I’ve had a good laugh at the attempted translation, but we can always dream! Recently, I had a transcription in my email of a voice message left for me from my dermatologist regarding a keratosis removed from my skin.

The translation said my “carrot hostess was benign, and no further action was required”! Imagine how hilarious life would be if our aids made similar translations for us, using speech recognition tech?


#11

In fact you have to accept these facts, not “except”?

I am sorry but glasses can’t do everything for us, that’s a dream, too. I wish glasses could do for me what my HA does for me. My vision may be not as bad as your hearing loss. My hearing loss is even worse.


#12

My spelling has never been very good


#13

1Bluejay… I’m stealing 1 of your ideas…
Perhaps be able to stream conversation like we stream phone calls, TVs and laptops.
there is a huge difference in my comprehension when streaming…

also I wish somehow the HA’s could have say a master decibel setting that we like to hear most everything at and would automatically kick in… when you are with a soft talker the vol. would be raised automatically to that decibel setting… and the same with loud talkers except it would be lowered


#14

I LOVE the recognizes voices idea. Unfortunately at times I have not lost ENOUGH hearing that just lowering the aid response of everything else would block out enough for me to understand the person I want to hear. I almost need something like “noise cancelling” for all but the person I want to hear!!


#15

@Ureout
Isn’t this automatism available already? My audi didn’t program my HAs the way you suggested. But I made the change to get nearly the effect you described. At least this works for me with my Naidas: Gain is decreased by 10dB for loud noise/voices (G80) and increased by 10dB for soft sounds/voices (G50) compared to my “master” setting (G65). Normal voices still sound the same as before the change.
On my last HAs this effect was not settable without impact to the speech quality.

@cvkemp
No problem, my fault. I was just confused because I am not a native english speaker.


#16

Sort of related to your idea of streaming conversation … I posted a new thread about new spectacles that let the deaf see live performances with the script displaying in closed captions right on their eyewear.

That gave me the thought about (DECADES AND DECADES FROM NOW!) having a similar device to enable us to see captions in groups of people, where we only have to turn our head to the person talking and we’d SEE what they are saying on our specs.

Yeah. I’m dreaming … again!


#17

They all have that already. There is a separate gain setting for 50db, 65db, and 80db input, so you can increase soft speech without loud speech being too loud, and that is one of the best innovations of the last few years.


#18

My dream things I would want to make a good hearing aid are

  1. A more comfortable open fit dome that doesn’t have to completely touch the side of your ear canal

  2. A setting that will allow you to cut out nearly all background noise in a noisy situation so you can focus in on only those you talking with.

  3. The ability to have a program which learns what kind of environment your in and adjusts the volume and background noise level to make it the most comfortable for you when you have it on that setting without you having to keep changing programs


#19

1Bluejay … Language translation is in the works with one of the major manufacturers of HA’s. I don’t remember the manufacturer’s name, but I definitely read it in a release over the last 3 or 4 months. I’m fortunate to have my HA’s provided by the VA, but they’re not always in the forefront of technological advances.


#20

I think Starkey’s Vivio offers language translation. Really doesn’t seem much of a leap to me to turn this into captioning on a smartphone or perhaps something like Google Glass.