Its a wireless world in which we live. From cell phones to PDAs and TV signal downloads to GPS (global positioning systems); its all wireless radio signals transmitted and received through the air.
Oticon, makers of high-quality hearing devices, has introduced its first wireless product employing Bluetooth technology the same technology that allows reams and streams of data to be transferred from one computer to another instantly and wirelessly, i.e., no wires or cables. Its called bandwidth and the more bandwidth, the more data can be transferred at one time, whether that data are computer bits and bytes or sound wave data captured by a hearing device.
Dr. Donald Schum, Vice-President for Audiology and Professional Relations at Oticon, recently sat down with Dr. Paul Dybala, Editor-in-Chief of Audiology Online (www.audiologyonline.com), prominent website for the professional hearing healthcare community. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Schum stressed the importance of this giant leap in digital hearing aid technology.
We believe that wireless is the new horizon in hearing aid technology. We believe that it is the new technical challenge. And it is a new technology that will bring significant benefits to patients, Dr. Schum explained.
Improved Localization Using Wireless Tech
Oticons first product release using this technology is called Epoq, which employs a state-of-the-art proprietary wireless connectivity in two ways. First, many people who experience hearing loss prefer to wear two hearing devices for a more natural hearing experience. Using wireless technology, the device in one ear can immediately share digital, sound-based data with the second device and vice-versa.
This improves localization the users ability to pinpoint the source of a sound. In a crowded, noisy restaurant, localization better enables the wearer of the dual devices to hear his or her companion through the clatter and chatter of ambient noise.
Dr. Schum, speaking of the Epoq, stated that, We believe that localization ability is fundamental to a persons ability to understand speech in noisy environments, and by using high speed data transfer [bandwidth] between the hearing aidswe are taking a very important step to maintain whatever localization abilities our consumers have. In other words, the Oticon Epoq adapts to the needs of the wearer on an as-needed basis.
So, Oticon has created what is, in effect, a miniature radio within the Epoq that transmits and receives sound-based data for improved localization and more accurate hearing, especially with a din in the background.
Go Wireless. Stay Connected.
Oticon is using wireless technology in another way through the use of a device Oticon calls the Streamer an outboard unit that picks up Bluetooth wireless signals and transmits these signals directly to the Epoq and to the wearer.
What are the benefits of the Streamer? The ability to use the expanding array of wireless products on, or coming to, market in a neighborhood near you. The most common of the devices is, of course, the cell phone. The Streamer picks up the users Bluetooth cell signal and transmits it directly to the wireless receiver built into the Epoq. The result is instant, wireless connectivity.
And the latest cell phones equip users to watch movies, access the World Wide Web, and download their favorite tunes plus a bunch more. Now, people with a hearing impairment can connect to the wireless world effortlessly, seamlessly and discreetly.
Wireless Binaural Sound Processing and Connectivity
Wireless binaural [two ears] sound processing improves the users ability to pinpoint sources of sounds in any environment. The cutting edge technology employed in Oticons Epoq delivers sound in stereo the way it was meant to be heard.
The same technology equips wearers to connect themselves to the grid in our wireless world. No more land lines, no more device adjustments, and no more loss of productivity away from the office.
Today, wireless hearing aid users are completely plugged in and on the beam. Go wireless and go free.