With the recent boom in hearing aid connectivity technology, hearing aid wearers now have more options for a satisfactory experience when listening on the phone. Due to limitations of more traditional coupling methods, such as the use of a t-coil, in terms of usability and sound quality, an increasing number of wearers rely on Bluetooth to stream phone calls to their hearing aids.
For optimal listening results on the phone, wearers are likely to be more satisfied with wireless solutions that stream phone calls to both ears. This is because scientific research consistently shows that bilateral routing of the phone signal provides better speech intelligibility than when the signal is only heard in one ear. Unlike some other hearing aids equipped with Bluetooth, hearing aids with Signia Nx technology stream phone calls – as well as music and other audio signals – to both ears.
Binaural streaming supports spatial hearing
Research also shows that even if an acoustic coupling is used, hearing aids that stream the acoustic phone signal to both ears are still preferable. Furthermore, awareness of the acoustic environment does not need to be sacrificed to bilateral phone streaming. These solutions typically allow the hearing care professional to fine-tune streaming parameters so that the microphone signal can be mixed with the streamed phone signal at the desired level. This way, wearers’ awareness of their immediate acoustic environment can be maintained while speech recognition on the phone is optimized.
In fact, since sounds in the environment can be heard in both ears in this solution, spatial hearing can be maintained. This is arguably another advantage over monaural streaming which delivers the phone signal to one side and environmental sounds to the other, limiting spatial cues.
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