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Hearing Aid Question

Paul D Dybala dybala at utdallas.edu
Sat Jun 7 12:55:27 EST 1997

Basically some of the capabilities that you descibe are now
available in the newer digital aids (Oticon Digifocus) and also in
some of the digitally programmable analog aids.

Paul Dybala

Michael Reilly (mcr2582 at ritvax.isc.rit.edu) wrote:
> I have a deaf friend who uses hearing aids to hear some sounds. The other
> day another friend was playing with an empty plastic soda bottle pressing
> the sides and letting the side pop out again. Well my deaf friend asked
> them to stop, because it was bothering her. Later she explained that she
> can hear high frequency sounds much better than lower frequency ones, and
> for that reason the high frequency sounds are extra amplified by her
> hearing aids, too much in some cases. This made sense, I understood that
> hearing loss may sometimes be limited to only certian ranges in
> frequencies. 

> Later however I got to thinking. I participate in theater and I know that
> in the sound booth we have 1/3rd octave Equalizers which allows us to
> adjust the levels of specific frequency ranges, which as I understand it
> is to compensate for the sound equipments ability to reproduce those
> sounds, and theater space's acoustics, in order to get all the freqencies
> at approximately the same volume. It is also used to turn down the
> frequencies at which feedback occurs easily to make it less likely to
> occur. 

> So I was wondering are any of these capabilities available in hearing
> aids? Its probably not a user servicable type thing, but is it possible to
> hook them to equipment and EQ them, for example turning up the frequency
> ranges that the person finds hardest to hear, while turning down those
> frequencies they hear easily, thus approaching a more even volume across
> all frequencies? Perhaps this would allow better amplification of the
> harder to hear frequencies, by reducing the amplification of the
> frequencies that may be too loud under normal, across the board
> amplification. In this case it would also be possible to turn down the
> levels of the frequencies where feedback occurs most, as it is usually
> around the same frequency from what I have heard. Plus maybe have auto
> ranging ability, to match the input to the output, from my experience
> people spend a lot of time adjusting the volume, it seems like the device
> should be able to adjust to some degree on its own. Sort of like another
> piece of theater equipment called a Compressor/Limiter which pushes the
> sound wave amplitude into a certian range, lowering the high amplitudes
> and increasing the low amplitudes.

> Please feel free to correct my information stated above, I'm not entirely
> familiar with the equipment I mentioned, only with the basic concepts
> involved. 

> I don't know anything about hearing aids in this respect, I'm just
> thinking about my limited knowledge of other sound equipment and wondering
> if these concepts could be applied, or maybe they are already. Do these
> features exist in some hearing aid models?

>                   -Michael

Thank you for your support,
Paul Dybala
dybala at utdallas.edu

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