The accelerating pace of new innovations since the personal computer, to the internet, smartphones, social media, and virtual meetings have led us to living a more digital existence than ever before. Yet, recent events have reminded us that what makes humans unique is that we are very social creatures, and that tangible, in-person interactions are vital, and some of the most enjoyable aspects of the human experience.
Whether you’re having an intimate one-on-one discussion with a loved one or sharing stories while catching up with a group of friends, conversation is key to our social interactions. It’s so important that human ears have this special ability to help us in these situations. Our ear anatomy collects and focuses high frequency sound energy from sources in front and to the sides, which are the directions speech comes the vast majority of the time. This, combined with in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids with microphones placed inside the ear rather than on top, can contribute to maximized localization ability in addition to an improvement in speech-in-noise intelligibility1.
While various hearing aid types take the microphone location effect (MLE) into consideration for acoustic performance, this is typically an averaged MLE which does not take into account the anatomical differences from one person’s ears to another’s. This is where ITEs and our sophisticated EarMatchTM modelling process comes in.
EarMatch is an automatic process that optimizes the directional performance of Insera ITE hearing aids by compensating for individual differences in external ear geometries. This occurs in three steps:
- Characterize - A 3D model of the individual’s ear is generated from an impression. Based on this model, EarMatch analyzes a multitude of anatomical parameters, using 1,600 data points.
- Recognize - Our recognition algorithm analyzes each ear’s unique features, then searches our comparative database to select the closest match amongst 250 unique models.
- Customize - Our modeling process then customizes the beamformer’s calibration to create a directional response optimized for the individual’s ear based on that match.
This process optimizes the beamformer with the goal of restoring the natural head related transfer function (HRTF) at the eardrum. The result is improved directional performance of up to 1 dB higher Articulation Index-Directivity Index (AI-DI) for an Insera B designed with EarMatch compared to a Stride ITE without. AI-DI is a score providing a measure of directivity, weighted toward frequencies most important for speech recognition. According to Dillion2 a 1 dB increase in AI-DI should result in about a 10% increase in sentence-based speech understanding.
Insera hearing aids powered by the Blu platform leverage the natural acoustic advantages of the pinna, while Insera B-312 with EarMatch optimizes directional performance for each client. They can further adjust the application of Dynamic Noise Reduction to suit their individual preferences for those challenging environments with real-time adjustments via the Remote Plus app, right in the moments they are needed. All this means the Made For All Insera B-312 paired with the Remote Plus app offers Unitron’s most personalized hearing aid ever.
- Orton JF, Preves DA. Localization ability as a function of hearing aid microphone placement. Hearing Instruments. 1979;30(1):18-21.
- Dillon, H. (2012). Hearing Aids (2nd ed.). New York: Thieme.