Hearing aid manufacturer Oticon, together with their research centre Eriksholm, have new research revealing that hearing aids could reduce the impact that sound, and more specifically noise, has on a person’s stress levels. Providing a glimpse into the future of data-driven hearing aid innovation, the new data collected could one day see well-fitted hearing aids actually being used to help reduce raised heart rate.
As part of its ongoing BrainHearing™ research programme, which looks at reducing the listening effort of a person with hearing loss, Oticon and Eriksholm are working on new ways to determine how changes in sound influence health. Its new hearing research includes a study of heart health. Eriksholm has measured pupil dilation to determine stress caused by sounds and the effort of listening as well as studied heart rate both in the lab and the real-world, the results of which demonstrate the importance of effective hearing aid technology and correct fitting.
Oticon More™ hearing aids feature advanced noise reduction working in unison with a deep neural network allowing users to hear all relevant sounds. This is a completely new way to support hearing loss, breaking with the tradition of directionality technology, which fundamentally limits what a hearing aid user can hear at any one time. Oticon More enables a user to hear more naturally and also ensures sound is ‘comfortable’ to listen to, creating the perfect conditions to help reduce listening effort and stress, which as per Oticon’s real-world study would help with heart health in the noisy environments that users face on a daily basis.
“Noise, which essentially is unwanted sound, can be terribly unhealthy”, says Jeppe Høy Christensen, researcher, Eriksholm Research Centre. “Creating a link between lab studies and user provided research, we can confidently say that by effectively making noise less burdensome by enhancing relevant sounds through hearing technology we will be able to help improve not only the brain but also the heart health of our hearing aid users. Our research strives to constantly inspire improved hearing aid technology, and we are particularly proud to have uncovered such a significant revelation. The consequence could even see manufacturers of other hearing products, such as headphones, employing new technology to benefit their users’ health.”