SpeechMaster, Part II: Reducing listening effort throughout the day
In our previous blog post, we discussed the importance of reducing listening effort for the wearer. This is one of the primary goals of the new primax™ platform and it is achieved via SpeechMaster.
SpeechMaster is responsible for the automation of the Universal program, and its main function is to reduce listening effort for the wearer throughout the day. It senses and analyzes the acoustic environment more precisely than ever before then acts on it. This precision allows SpeechMaster to isolate and highlight the target speaker from interfering sounds in the environment throughout the day. Combining this with our proven industry benchmark technology allows primax to reduce listening effort more than ever before.
How SpeechMaster works
Example 1: Subway platform during rush hour
On the way to work, our wearer bumps into a colleague at the train station and they start chatting. The conversation is punctuated by the sound of announcements while trains come and go. It’s very difficult to understand speech in this situation, especially for hearing aid wearers. SpeechMaster elevates the speaker of interest, while the speech and noise management system and narrow directionality allow the wearer to focus on speech coming directly from the front. It’s even able to reduce competing speech or noise within the narrow directional cone while leaving the target speaker untouched.
Example 2: At work in a large office
Our hearing aid wearer arrives at work in a large, open-plan room where phones ring, keyboards clatter, and multiple conversations are ongoing. It all creates a distracting situation for a one-on-one meeting. However, as soon as the person next to our wearer starts speaking, SpeechMaster automatically elevates their voice above others. It also activates speech and noise management and SoundSmoothing to suppress background sounds like phones and keyboards, allowing for effortless speech understanding.
The best thing about SpeechMaster is that it works continuously in the automatic Universal program, so the wearer can enjoy its benefit throughout the day without having to lift a finger. The benefit of SpeechMaster is clinically proven. A recent study that analyzed subject brain activity via EEG measurements showed that SpeechMaster significantly reduces listening effort.* An article describing this study is scheduled to appear in the April, 2016 edition of the Hearing Review magazine.
* Study conducted at the University of Northern Colorado, 2015, examined the effectiveness of the new features of primax by collecting and analyzing ongoing EEG data while subjects performed speech testing. For both primax features SpeechMaster and EchoShield, the objective brain behavior measures revealed a significant reduction in listening effort when the feature was activated.