If you are like everyone else with hearing loss, you likely struggle in complex listening situations that include: Background Noise, Reverberation (Echo), and Increased distance between you and the person speaking to you.
Hearing Aids have come a long way in improving your performance in these environments. From the use of Noise Reduction Algorithms, Directional Microphones, Clip-on Microphones, and Telecoils, hearing aid technology continues to improve. The main goal of these innovations is to improve Signal to Noise Ratio. Essentially, signal to noise ratio is the difference between the sounds that you want to hear and the sounds that you don't want to hear. The larger the difference in the positive direction, the better you will hear.
Imagine that you are in a restaurant, that isn’t very busy, with only a few friends. You may find yourself with a favorable signal to noise ratio of, Let’s Say, +15 Decibels. This means that the voice of your friend that is talking is 15 decibels louder than the surrounding noise in that restaurant , which means that you will likely have very little difficulty understanding what your friends are saying. Now imagine that you are in a restaurant, that is very busy, and you are with a large table of friends. In this situation, you may find yourself with a signal to noise ratio of only +2 decibels, which means that the voice of a friend that is talking is only 2 decibels louder than the surrounding noise. This would result in more difficulty understanding your friends, and could EVEN result in not being able to engage in conversation with your friends at all.
Without a doubt, the best way to optimize your ability to understand speech in a complex situation like a noisy restaurant, a large room with bad echo, and over a long distance is to use an Assistive Listening Device in addition to your hearing aids. Why? Because even the best hearing aids in the world can only improve your signal to noise ratio by up to 5 decibels, when an Assistive Listening Device can improve it by up to 15 decibels. This is where Phonak and their selection of Roger Wireless Microphones lead the industry.
Take the Roger Pen for instance. This accessory is my favorite Assistive Listening Device for several reasons. First, it lets you connect directly to a phone so you can stream phone calls into both of your hearing aids. Second, you can use it as a table microphone that can pick up the voices of individuals at your table without picking up as much surrounding noise.
Third, you can pick it up and point it at an individual person that you want to hear, separating their voice from other voices that are around you even if you are in a noisy location. Fourth, you can hang it around the neck of another person and it will send their voice directly into your hearing aids, removing difficulty in a noisy environment. Fifth, you can connect it to your television and stream it into both of your hearing aids, and Sixth, you can connect it to a device like a phone stream music and other audio directly into your ears.
You also have the Roger Select. The Roger Select is a versatile microphone ideal for stationary situations where background noise is present. It’s Multi-beam technology uses 6 different directional microphones allowing it to automatically select the direction that has the best signal to noise ratio. It can also be worn as a lapel microphone to pick up the voice of a single person, and one of the coolest features of the Roger Select is your ability to SELECT which direction you want to pick up sound from, so you can control with conversation you want to be a part of, if more than one conversations are occurring at one time.Then you have the Roger Tablemic 2. The Roger Tablemic 2 is a remote microphone that is perfect for individuals who find themselves in various meetings.
Multiple Tablemics can be used together to pick up the voices around a meeting table, automatically switching between meeting participants, and sending their voices directly into your ears. While Roger Devices work with a variety of hearing aid and cochlear implant brands on the market, the best part is, they are directly compatible with the Phonak Audeo Marvel hearing aids. This means no more neck loops or extended battery door receivers, because the receivers are already inside of the devices.At the end of the day, if hearing aids aren't enough, you can get help by using an assistive listening device, you just have to be willing to use them.