A landmark paper was recently published about Earlens, a device intended to provide audible, suprathreshold amplification from 125–10,000 Hz to patients with mild-to-severe sensorineural hearing impairment by directly vibrating the ossicles–enabling high-gain margins without feedback and low-frequency output without occluding the canal.
This blinded study from a collaboration with Susan Scollie’s National Centre of Audiology at Western University in Ontario looked at the suprathreshold benefits to participants fit with Earlens on a battery of speech outcome measures, comparing audible bandwidth limited to 5 kHz (commonly seen with conventional acoustic technology) versus the full audible bandwidth to 10 kHz.
All outcome measures were statistically significantly improved with the Earlens extended bandwidth: consonant recognition, plural detection, and speech understanding in competing speech. Blinded subjective ratings also showed preference for the extended bandwidth condition (Folkeard et al, 2021).
CONTENT PROVIDED BY EARLENS.
This article is a part of the July/August 2021 Audiology Today issue.
Folkeard P, Van Eeckhoutte M, Levy S, et al. (2021) Detection, speech, recognition, loudness, and preference outcomes with a direct drive hearing aid effects of bandwidth. Trends Hear 25: 233121652199913.