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Hearing loss sufferers need better tech to filter out background noise

Monday 20th November 2017
Action on Hearing Loss Technology Initiative is calling for better technology to help hard-of-hearing individuals filter out background noise. Image: Rawpixel via iStock
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People who suffer with hearing loss are in need of better technologies to help them filter out background noise and hear more clearly when they are out and about.

According to research carried out by the charity Action on Hearing Loss as part of its Technology Initiative, 96 per cent of people who are hard-of-hearing find it difficult to hear in noisy settings, even when wearing a hearing aid.

Overall, just 12 per cent of hearing aid wearers said they could hear well in environments where there's a lot of background noise, along with only 27 per cent of those who have been fitted with a cochlear implant.

What's more, only 51 per cent of hearing aid users reported that they used specific technologies to filter out background sounds in noisy situations, which suggests improved access is needed to this type of technology.

The most problematic scenario for those suffering from hearing loss was named as trying to hear their phone in a crowded bar or restaurant. There are many reasons why it could be essential to hear a phone call, including there being an emergency, so it is important that hearing loss patients are given technology that enables them to deal with such situations.

Jesal Vishnuram, technology research manager at Action on Hearing Loss, commented: "We are calling for manufacturers to continue to invest in new technologies while making improvements to existing ones to make them easier to use.

"Also, better sharing of information about assistive technologies that are available would really help, as a lot of people simply don't know what is available right now to help them hear better."

Examples that she gave included Bluetooth apps, FM systems and visual indicators of battery life, so that those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing never have to be in a situation where they are unable to hear despite already wearing an aid or having a cochlear implant.

Written by James Puckle

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