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JAN

Posted on Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Amazing Science of Hearing Aid Technology

The amazing science of hearing aid technology benefits those listening to an orchestra like the one pictured

Hearing aid technology isn’t merely amplifying sound; it’s trying to recreate natural hearing. Our natural hearing automatically sorts out speech from background noise, but people with hearing loss have a harder time honing in on these sounds. That’s why researchers have gone to amazing lengths to develop hearing aids that mimic natural hearing in noisy situations. One of these extreme scientific measures is taking place in a quiet corner of Binghampton University.

The saying, “It’s so quiet you can hear a pin drop” is a real goal for the scientist at the anechoic chamber at Binghampton University. There, the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences works to develop technology that will allow people to hear in background noise. To do this they designed a chamber that is not only sound proof, but a chamber in which sound waves aren’t reflected off any of the surfaces. According to Science Daily, “That makes it a perfect environment in which to test how sound radiates from its source and moves around objects or bodies.”

The scientist in charge of this quiet chamber, Professor Ron Miles has developed a tiny microphone that can expertly filter unwanted sounds. Today’s hearing aids are already good at helping people converse in noisy situations, but this microphone is intended to do this better and with increased directionality—the ability to locate and hone in on the sounds a person wants to hear.

Extreme scientific measures like those at Binghampton are part of a complex field of science with devoted researchers who are trying to improve hearing technology. The cost of hearing aids has a lot to do with the advanced technology. A hearing aid isn’t simply manufactured, but researched, designed, and tested over many years.

Your hearing is a precious and complex sense. Hearing aids are sophisticated pieces of technology that seek to mimic hearing in order to restore this sense. The various features and technologies that eliminate background noise and convert signals to sound aren't quickly nor easily manufactured. Developing hearing aids is a complicated process that involves specialized research and technology from multiple sources and scientific fields. All of this, technology, science, experiments, fitting and finding the right aid, is an attempt to restore a sense that is multifaceted and has a positive impact on a person’s entire physical health.

Hearing health is an important aspect of life and communication and whole body health. If you'd like to learn more about keeping your hearing healthy, see your hearing health provider. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

References
Binghamton University, State University of New York (2013, October 16). One of the quietest places on Earth: Soundproof room for acoustic research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 23, 2014, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2013/10/131016122004.htm

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