THE perfect hearing aid? Well, if it boasts audiophile-quality sound, there’s certainly merit in the claim, and that’s what a company called Widex claims for its new Moment model. For musicians and music enthusiasts who have had prolonged exposure to loud decibels and are at the risk of hearing loss, this is certainly a blessing.
“The company’s ground-breaking Widex PureSound technology, available for the first time in its new flagship Widex Moment hearing aids, features two distinct signal processing pathways – a ‘classic’ version and a new ZeroDelay Accelerator pathway that dramatically changes how hearing aids sound.” the company press release says.
“Sound quality and the ‘naturalness’ of sound remain among the most-cited reasons people don’t pursue hearing assistance, despite the great strides in hearing aid innovation made over the last decades,” adds Widex Audiology Head Lise Henningsen.
“When hearing aids went digital, drastic improvements in noise reduction and advanced signal processing came at a price, but Widex has figured out how to overcome it.”
There is a significant delay in processing an analogue sound wave into a digital signal, and then back again into sound waves. It could take anywhere between four to eight milliseconds, and through studies, it has been determined that this was enough to adversely affect sound quality. This is especially evident when processed and unprocessed sound mix in the ear canal of a hearing aid user, creating what is called a comb filter effect.
“When that happens, the perceived quality of the user’s own voice becomes tinny and artificial,” Henningsen said.
“Environmental sounds come out distorted and unusual and, overall, the resulting sound becomes strenuous to listen to over time.”
This is how Widex has addressed this drawback in conventional hearing aids.
“The new Widex ZeroDelay Accelerator reduces the processing delay in Moment hearing aids to below 0.5ms – a remarkable technological feat considering Widex already leads the industry with the lowest system delay through its ‘classic’ processing pathway.
“The company’s unique, legacy time-domain filter bank, 32kHz sampling rate, and 16kHz digital bandwidth create very high-fidelity sound across its family of hearing aids, with a processing delay under 3ms.
“For the second, accelerated pathway in Widex PureSound-based hearing aids, signal processing is adapted to the ZeroDelay design to deliver the purest sound quality. Core functions, such as acoustics stability, adaptive gain control, and enhanced signal-to-noise ratio, continue to take priority, while others are modified for the faster ZeroDelay pathway.
“The two pathways – ZeroDelay and ‘classic’ – exist side-by-side on the Widex PureSound platform. Depending on the needs of the wearer, a hearing care professional can program one or the other as the default mode. From there, the PureSound platform is adaptable to each user’s situation and preferred hearing experience.”
Toto guitarist/frontman Steve Lukather is a brand ambassador for Widex.
“Suddenly, I’m hearing sounds I haven’t heard in 25 years,” says Lukather.
“The new record sounds great. I worked on it with an engineer whose ears I really trust, and we were hearing the same things.”
Visit the Widex website for more details.