Perfect hearing ranges from 20 Hz in the low frequencies all the way up to 20,000 Hz in the high frequencies. However, hearing aids can usually only amplify sound from ~750 Hz – 5500 Hz. Unfortunately, this narrow frequency range limits the quality of sound that conventional hearing aids can provide. Not surprisingly, sound quality is the number one dissatisfaction that hearing aid wearers have with their hearing aids.*
The reason that hearing aids have been unable to amplify sound across a broader frequency range has to do with how they work. Traditional hearing aids capture sound through a microphone and convert sound waves to electrical signals that are sent through an amplifier. The amplifier strengthens the signals and pushes the amplified sound waves through a small speaker to vibrate the eardrum more strongly than the original sound wave could have. Unfortunately, hearing aid speakers are only able to amplify certain frequencies up to a certain level before they encounter problems with distortion or feedback (whistling).
This is where a contact hearing solution has an advantage. The Earlens Contact Hearing Solution uses light rather than a speaker to transmit sound. Earlens have three main parts: the Processor, Ear Tip, and the Lens. Sound enters the microphones on the rechargeable Processor, which is worn behind the ear. The Processor digitally processes the sound and transmits it to the Ear Tip. Finally, the Ear Tip transforms the sound information into pulses of energy that signal a custom Lens to gently vibrate the eardrum and activate the natural hearing system.
By eliminating the reliance on speaker technology, Earlens can deliver a broader frequency range of sound than any other hearing aid on the market—from 100 Hz all the way to 10 kHz. More complete sound means richer lows and crisper highs. The bandwidth that Earlens amplifies has been associated with more natural sound quality and better ability to understand speech.**
To hear the Earlens difference, make an appointment with your nearest Earlens provider and ask for a complimentary sound comparison between Earlens and your current hearing aids.
*Kochkin S. (2012) MarkeTrak VIII: The Key Influencing Factors in Hearing Aid Purchase Intent. Hearing Review, March:12–25.
*Moore, B. C., & Tan, C. (2003). Perceived naturalness of spectrally distorted speech and music. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 114(1), 408. Levy SC et al. Extended High-Frequency Bandwidth Improves Speech Reception in the Presence of Spatially Separated Masking Speech. Ear Hear. 2015 Sep-Oct;36(5):e214-24.
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