Oticon Alta2 New world of softer sounds

New Hearing Aid Technology: Reducing the Struggle to Hear

A study recently published in the journal Nature casts doubt on the effectiveness of brain-training exercises and has aging baby boomers and others looking for new ways to strengthen their cognitive abilities. For individuals with hearing loss, a sleek and stylish hearing solution from leading hearing aid manufacturer Oticon, Inc. may provide a practical and attractive option for maintaining an edge today and in the future.

The new Oticon Agil Hearing Aid is the first hearing aid designed to enable people with hearing loss to minimize the cognitive energy expended in typical listening environments without compromising sound quality and speech understanding.

"People with hearing loss often struggle to hear and identify sounds, using considerable energy to follow even the most casual of conversations," says Oticon President Peer Lauritsen. "Agil processes sound the way the human auditory system naturally does, preserving the fidelity of natural speech and spatial cues so that less energy is needed to translate and interpret the meaning of sounds - allowing the brain to perform other important cognitive tasks."

The brain uses a three-step process to understanding speech. It first organizes sounds and selects those sounds that are most important. Once a sound is identified, the brain follows it naturally, enabling the individual to comfortably interact in the listening environment. Hearing loss distorts sounds, disrupting this process. Agil takes much of the hard work out of organizing, selecting and following sounds so that people with hearing loss can stay engaged and active in everyday activities.

A variety of technological innovations, such as Speech Guard, increase Agil's ability to ease speech understanding in noise. Speech Guard is designed to preserve natural speech cues making it easier for the auditory system to identify individual speech patterns, "lock on" to a speaker and ignore competing sounds. When two Agil hearing instruments are worn, a wireless link allows them to share information about the listening environment and optimize their performance in such a way that the user has access to important sound details.

With the addition of the optional Streamer, a sleek companion device that resembles an MP3 player, Agil connects wirelessly and seamlessly to mobile phones, MP3 music players and a variety of other communication and entertainment devices. In addition, with the introduction of two innovative features - Power Bass and Music Widening - listening to sounds is richer and more enjoyable than ever before.

The Oticon Agil family of hearing solutions can accommodate approximately 80 percent of hearing losses. Users can choose from two discreet style options: a small mini behind-the-ear device that is almost invisible on the ear and a tiny CIC model that is worn completely in the ear canal.

For more information about new Oticon Agil and hearing loss, visit http://www.oticonus.com.

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