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Hearing the Way Mother Nature Intended: The Quest for a Normal Hearing Experience

Even today, after decades of development and design, some patients arent happy with any of the hearing devices available. Behind the ear (BTE)? Forget it. Some patients want to be discreet. In the ear (ITE)? Nope, you can still see it from most angles. How about ITC (In the Canal) devices. Very discreet. But many patients complain of tunnel ear, the effect of listening through a tunnel. First, that would drive most people crazy in about five minutes. Second, its not a natural hearing experience.

The final type of hearing device is CIC, Completely in the Canal, and completely invisible. However, the device, by necessity, blocks external sound. The user is completely reliant on the device to hear. Natural sounds are lost entirely. Many patients also have comfort complaints, feeling as though their ears are stuffed up.

Other complaints? Ugly. Their own voices didnt sound right. Clumsy.

Many users complained of the echo chamber effect. Why? Because sound waves captured behind the ear and sent through a conduit to the inner ear did create an echo as the sound was heard naturally but then heard again after being processed by the aid.

What We Need Is a More Natural Hearing Experience
What we need is a more natural hearing experience, more like real life, more like you remember. And its got to be comfortable. Thats a given. Lighter, more lifelike sound, more comfortable, less obtrusive. That was the laundry list Vivatone engineers brought with them into the lab. Clearly there was a niche for hearing aid users who couldnt find the comfort and natural hearing experience they were looking for from existing technology.

Vivatone Totally Open Canal'
In response, Vivatone developed Totally Open Canal, or Vivatone TOC', technology to deliver a more natural sounding, more natural feeling hearing aid that would interest those who understand some of the problems associated with other categories of hearing devices. The Vivatone places the receiver inside the ear canal, but doesnt block the canal. This design also allows for a more open fit.

Because the ear canal isnt completely blocked, users can still hear naturally-generated sound, improved by their hearing device. The TOC design also eliminates the plugged up feeling some wearers complain of.

The Vivatone TOC comes in five models, all BTE. They all employ the latest in hearing industry digital technology, including feedback suppression. Finally, Vivatone has a wide prescription fitting range.

The Open Sound
The hearing aid industry has long focused on the development of more natural hearing rather than the processed sound produced by hearing aids. Its simply the nature of hearing aids. Thats what they do. Process sound for delivery to the users hearing system.

Like many other manufacturers, Vivatone engineers have been working to develop devices that deliver sound in a more natural, open manner. The industry is also in the process of producing a more comfortable earpiece. What good does the device do if ends up in the desk drawer because its annoying or painful to wear?

Sarah Smith, a Senior Field Audiologist for Vivatone, explained during a recent interview, the objectives the company had set for itself. Weve all (hearing aid manufacturers) heard the complaints from our respective customers. People want the most natural sound possible, coupled with quality and durability. Thats been the driving force behind the development of Vivatones Totally Open Canal.

Ms. Smith continued, Vivatones approach mixes natural and processed sound simultaneously, eliminating the echo chamber problem. This equips the wearers to utilize their natural hearing when possible and rely on the device as needed. It provides flexibility of use, something all manufacturers, including Vivatone, recognize as essential to product success.

Like all quality hearing devices, Vivatones TOC is completely digital and highly automated so, essentially, the user can put on the device in the morning and not give it a thought for the rest of the day. Finally, it protects your natural ability to perceive sound. So, if you have a slight hearing loss, the Vivatone, and similar products, lets the natural sound waves through so you hear in a more natural way. Those with greater loss of hearing can still take advantage of Vivatones TOC. Hear what you hear naturally and let the device kick in to help.

One Last Thing
Many ITC (in the canal) hearing devices require at least one and often two or three fittings to get the device to fit comfortably. Not so with Vivatone. Your audiologist can fire one up in a single visit so youll hear immediate results, like now!

The entire industry continues to seek improved, more natural and less processed sound from their hearing devices. It is a movement driven by ever-increasing demand and one we can expect to see continue in the decades ahead. Why?

Hearing aid manufacturers will have to meet the demands of the baby boomer generation the generation that invented the word natural.

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