App helps hearing aid users better understand what people wearing face masks are saying
Hearing aid specialist Signia has launched a new ‘Mask Mode’ in the latest version of its app to help hearing aid wearers better understand what people wearing face masks are saying.
Due to the significant increase of people wearing face masks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to understand what people are saying when they are wearing a mask, which can be particularly challenging for those with hearing difficulties.
Although face masks are vitally important, along with social distancing, to prevent transmission of the coronavirus, they pose challenges to speech intelligibility for people with hearing loss.
By covering the mouth, face masks restrict important visual cues that many people with hearing loss rely on, including lip-reading. They also muffle speech signals.
According to Signia, this means that even people with normal hearing might experience reduced hearing ability of about 30 percent when talking to someone who is wearing a mask.
To help overcome this barrier, Signia has launched a new Mask Mode in the latest version of its app. Compatible with all Bluetooth-equipped Signia Xperience hearing aids, this unique feature enables hearing aid wearers to better understand what people wearing face masks are saying.
Activated by tapping a button within the app, the hearing aids optimally capture the sound of the speech signals so that the words sound clearer and any background noise is reduced to help wearers understand what is being said.
When the hearing aid wearer has finished talking to the person wearing a mask, they can easily deactivate Mask Mode by tapping the button again.
The hearing aids then let the user hear all of their surroundings in natural-sounding harmony because they no longer need to focus their attention on a person’s speech signals muffled by a face mask.
This pioneering Mask Mode will be available for hearing aid wearers throughout the pandemic.
The new Mask Mode button is available with the Signia hearing aids Styletto X, Pure Charge&Go X, and Pure 312 X. The Signia app can be downloaded through both Android and Apple devices.