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Independent Research Study Proves that SmartFocusTM Significantly Improves Speech Intelligibility in Noise

Unitron today announced the results from three third-party research sites that proves its exclusive smartFocus™ technology significantly addresses the number one complaint* of hearing instrument wearers: understanding speech in noise.

While adaptive features have provided listening improvements, all proven signal to noise (SNR) benefits to date have been tied to directional microphone strategies or FM technology. SmartFocus now breaks through this SNR barrier using a proprietary approach that combines multiple adaptive features into one powerful algorithm. By optimizing these features to work together with maximum efficiency, smartFocus technology allows hearing instrument wearers to experience clear, comfortable listening in noisy situations. In fact, smartFocus provides the largest clinically proven SNR improvement in over a decade—a benefit that goes beyond directional microphones. Additionally, smartFocus uniquely offers wearers the ability to adjust these adaptive features to meet their personal listening preferences, though significant SNR improvements were found even without adjustment of the user control.

SmartFocus™ provides a 16% increase in speech intelligibility in noise

Two independent and accredited universities conducted a study involving 22 participants at each site. The study clearly demonstrated that hearing instrument wearers fit with smartFocus performed significantly better in speech in noise than those wearing the same hearing instruments without smartFocus enabled. These results were proven at the University of Rochester and then replicated at Louisiana Tech University, resulting in a combined SNR improvement of 16% (1.8 dB).

Researchers also discovered that the speech intelligibility in noise benefits delivered by smartFocus extended to open-fit, with an additional 22 participants at each university site experiencing combined SNR improvement of 13.5% (1.5 dB).

90% of hearing instrument wearers prefer the meaningful control of smartFocus™

A third study run by the University of Iowa gave 24 participants the opportunity to choose between two hearing instruments: one fully automatic, the other with smartFocus enabled. Over 90% of participants chose the hearing instrument with smartFocus, citing better clarity, comfort in noise, and flexibility and control as the three main reasons why.

“SmartFocus is an excellent example of our relentless drive to improve speech intelligibility without compromising either comfort or clarity,” explains Donald Hayes, Ph.D., Director, Audiology, Unitron. “The results of this study validate all we set out to do when developing this technology in June 2009.”

The study findings around smartFocus have been further validated in the market, where user acceptance of the technology has been high since it first launched in Unitron’s premium Passport™ hearing instrument in June 2009, followed by Latitude™ in October of the same year.

*Kochkin, Sergei, "MarkeTrak VIII: Consumer satisfaction with hearing aids is slowly increasing." Hearing Journal 63, no. 1 (January 2010)

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