It can be challenging for those struggling with some degree of hearing impairment to tell where sounds originate. However, knowing where voices and sounds come from is essential, especially when an individual is in a busy, loud environment. Thus, a directional microphone hearing aid can offer the most significant benefit to those with hearing loss.
Many individuals who develop hearing impairments over time realize how vital it is to have directional hearing. This type of hearing, otherwise known as sound localization or spatial hearing, is critical in having your bearings in outdoor areas, public settings, or other places.
The importance of microphone directionality in hearing aids can be seen where someone walking in a crowd hears their name but cannot tell from where it came. Having the ability to perceive the origin of a sound in hearing aids is necessary for everyday life.
Other examples of where directional hearing is vital to include driving or walking in a city or urban area. Because of these scenarios, many hearing aid manufacturers have begun to develop improved technology in the field.
Owning directional microphone hearing aids benefit others just as much as the owner.
Benefits of Directional Microphones in Hearing Aids
Users of hearing aids with directional microphones are rewarded with the best hearing experience. Regardless of the surrounding environment, wearers of directional microphone hearing aids get a natural listening experience.
Before hearing impairments, the shape of one’s ears has unique characteristics that funnel sounds in from various directions. This gives individuals the directional hearing experience. When someone loses natural hearing capability, they lose the ability to localize sounds. Thus, directional microphones return the ability to them.
Various studies posted in the US National Library of Medicine from the National Institutes of Health have shown that, subjectively, users find hearing aids with directional microphones much more effective than those that do not have them.
Furthermore, users with hearing aids with directional microphones benefit from an improved signal-to-noise ratio. These hearing aids use the directional microphone and special algorithms to attenuate sound from various directions and amplify other sounds. Thus, users get spatial recognition abilities and improved background noise reduction, thanks to directional microphones.
Another benefit of directional microphones is that the technology is capable of picking up new incoming sounds. For example, someone sitting at a restaurant gets the person’s speech sitting in front of them amplified. As a result, the rest of the noise in the restaurant is dampened. However, when the waiter walks up to the table, the directional microphone can pick up the waiter’s speech and amplify that sound.
Directional microphones give users many benefits. They provide improved listening experiences, increased spatial awareness, and algorithmic noise processing to amplify directional sounds depending on the environment.
How Do Directional Microphones Work in Hearing Aids?
Hearing aids with directional microphones function in complex ways that lead to the sound generation desired. First, hearing aids with directional microphones typically have at least two microphones present, although it must be noted not all have two. Second, when sound comes from a source, the two microphones receive those sound waves at different times, as one will always be slightly closer to the sound source.
Once the two microphones pick up the sound independently, the travel time of the sound waves to each is compared. This time is linearly related to the sound source. As the distance of the source increases, the difference in time between the two microphones will also increase. If the sound reaches the microphones equally, the sound travels to the user simultaneously, thus giving an adequate mental representation of the sound’s origin.
Additionally, when the sound reaches the directional microphone, it is processed by directional algorithms before being processed by other technology. The other technology may include filtering, compression, and amplification. Directional microphone hearing aids often use technology to attenuate sound coming from sharper angles.
Most often, the desired sounds come from sources near or directly to the side of the hearing aids. Thus, these hearing aids will filter out noises coming from further distances and angles. This process helps the user hear desired sounds more clearly than background noise.
Best Directional Hearing Aid
Coniler Smart Hearing Amplifier
Coniler has created a rechargeable, durable hearing amplifier with an exceptional directional microphone built-in. The directional microphone helps parse sounds before the algorithms process the signals.
The hearing aid then attenuates background noises, thanks to the directional microphone, and amplifies the rest. Thus, users receive a clear sound, free of background noises, whistling, and other unwanted noise.