“Ground-breaking” research proves Oticon hearing aids help the brain organise sounds
New electroencephalogram (EEG) research has shown that the Oticon Opn S hearing aids support the brain’s natural ability to organise and prioritise sounds.
Building on previous studies of Oticon’s hearing technologies, the new EEG research proves that Oticon Opn S hearing aids help people with hearing loss to experience a more natural sound experience and creates better conditions for following conversations, even when there are multiple speakers and noise.
An electroencephalogram (EEG) is a recording of brain activity. It consists of a test where small sensors are attached to the scalp to pick up the electrical signals produced when brain cells send messages to each other. These signals are recorded by a machine and are looked at by a doctor later to see if they’re unusual.
Hearing impairments affect the brain’s ability to understand and organise sound. This diminishes the ability to monitor surroundings and switch attention when focusing on speech, especially in noisy environments, says Oticon.
A new EEG testing method to objectively measure how a brain organises sound has proven that Opn S hearing aids enhance so-called ‘selective attention’ – the ability to switch between the sounds the wearer wants to focus on.
The new test, developed with independent researchers in a large EU research project, was performed by the researchers at the Oticon research center, Eriksholm, and was able to measure a person’s selective attention ability by measuring how the brain responds to speech and noise.
Mimicking a real-life conversation, including speech to ignore while focusing on a particular conversation and background babble to suppress, the test demonstrates that Opn S users are able to better focus on the voice of their choice and find it much easier to distinguish, and therefore switch attention, between the other voices around them.
“Living with a hearing loss without the support the brain needs to effectively make sense of sounds can be detrimental to quality of life which can go on to affect a person’s health,” said Thomas Behrens, Chief of Audiology at Oticon. “With a hearing loss it takes a lot of effort to understand speech, especially in noisy environments or when several people are talking simultaneously, and this takes its toll on the brain. Without the vital selective attention ability, communication, and therefore social interaction, is extremely difficult and literally exhausting.
“This is why it is no surprise that so many people with hearing loss often choose to avoid social events, and why hearing loss is a major risk factor for conditions such as dementia.”
According to Oticon, a recent study of health insurance data revealed that people with hearing loss were, within three years, able to reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 17 percent, depression by 14 percent and injuring falls by 13 percent by wearing hearing aids.
With Oticon’s OpenSound Navigator and OpenSound Optimiser BrainHearing technologies working together, Oticon Opn S hearing aids provide 360° access to sound, apply fast, precise and effective noise reduction that gives speech clarity, and ensure optimal gain with no risk of feedback.
Thomas concluded: “Oticon Opn S is helping users to make sense of sound and, in a number of ways, enabling users to hear just like people with normal hearing*. Opn S users can once again enjoy the family dinners, restaurants and social events that previously would have been too challenging.
“By continuously improving the way hearing aids can increase speech understanding and reduce listening effort with technological innovation, we are changing people’s lives.”
For more information on Oticon visit: www.oticon.global