Siemens Binax outperforms normal hearing

Siemens: New Binax System Outperforms Normal Hearing in Challenging Environments


binax_hearing-aidsAt this week’s EUHA Congress held in Hannover, Germany, Siemens Hearing Instruments introduced its new binax hearing aid platform that reportedly provides hearing aid wearers with better speech recognition in cocktail-party situations than people with normal hearing.

Two independent studies, the results of which are summarized in the October edition of The Hearing Review by Kamkar-Parsi et al, show that Speech Reception Thresholds (SRT) improved up to 2.9 dB (a 25% advantage in speech understanding) for binax wearers compared to people with normal hearing.

The binax platform builds on the e2e wireless™ technology that Siemens introduced a decade ago (see the February 2014 article “A History of e2e Wireless Technology” by Rebecca Herbig et al). Now in its third generation, e2e wireless 3.0 enables real-time exchange of audio signals among four microphones (two on each hearing aid in a bilateral fitting). Each hearing aid processes this audio input, creating a virtual 8-microphone network designed to deliver a heightened sensitivity of acoustic environment, or High Definition Sound Resolution (HDSR).

HDSR is said to provide unprecedented localization and directionality, emulating the benefits of natural binaural hearing: better clarity, richer sound, and exceptional speech recognition.

Importantly, binax provides this to the user automatically without compromising spatial perception or battery life.  At the EUHA convention, the Siemens booth featured a demonstration in which a KEMAR was situated within a soundfield array of speakers and attendees both heard the difference as well as viewed the energy consumption of the system which varied from about 1.3 to 1.6 mA depensing on if the new binaural system was disengaged or engaged.

According to a Siemens press release, key binaural features derive practical benefits for the wearer, including:

Narrow Directionality: Focuses more precisely on the speech source at the front of the wearer by automatically narrowing the beam of the directional microphones. This helps wearers better recognize speech in demanding listening situations while maintaining spatial awareness.

Spatial Speech Focus: Highlights dominant speech from any direction, while suppressing background noise. It’s automatically activated when the wearer is in a car and does not affect spatial perception.

eWindScreen binaural: When in wind, strategically transmits audio signals from the instrument with better sound quality to the other one, without compromising spatial perception or speech intelligibility.

Other features and new devices launched by Siemens at EUHA:

touchControl App. The touchControl App is designed to turn virtually any Android or Apple smartphone into a hearing aid remote control. The app works with all binax hearing aids and does not require any intermediary device. Wearers can easily adjust volume, fine-tune treble, or select a listening program. The touchControl App is a free download from the App Store™ and Google Play™.

easyTek™ wireless remote/streamer. The new easyTek is the successor to Siemens’ award-winning miniTek, and is available for Pure® and Carat binax hearing aids. easyTek is only 2 inches in diameter and weighs less than an ounce, yet Siemens says its performance is superior to other streaming devices in its class. A single button controls streaming, answers phone calls, and connects to virtually any external audio source. easyTek works “out of the box” and seamlessly pairs with the users’ hearing aids to provide added functionality and Bluetooth streaming. It works with both iPhone and Android devices.

easyTek App. An easyTek App transforms Android and iPhones into a hearing aid control center. The app makes the most of binax technology using the Spatial Configurator (SC) feature. Using the SC, wearers can visually extend easyTek’s functionally by manually adjusting the direction and span of the hearing aids’ microphones via their smartphone. This gives them instant control over both where and who to listen, regardless of whether the sound source is coming from the left, right, in front, or behind. This allows a wearer, for example, to focus on the conversation of the person next to him at dinner, even if distracting, more dominant speech is coming from another direction. The easyTek App is a free download via the App Store and Google Play.

Pure, Carat, and Ace™ RICs will be the first hearing aids introduced on the binax platform.


Hearing loss and our personality – Swedish study

Hearing loss and personality

News: Mar 17, 2014

As people approach old age, they generally become less outgoing. New research from the University of Gothenburg shows that this change in personality is amplified among people with impaired hearing. The findings emphasise the importance of acknowledging and treating hearing loss in the elderly population.

The researchers studied 400 individuals 80-98 years old over a six-year period. Every two years, the subjects were assessed in terms of physical and mental measures as well as personality aspects such as extraversion, which reflects the inclination to be outgoing, and emotional stability. The results show that even if the emotional stability remained constant over the period, the participants became less outgoing.

Interestingly, the researchers were not able to connect the observed changes to physical and cognitive impairments or to age-related difficulties finding social activities. The only factor that could be linked to reduced extraversion was hearing loss.

‘To our knowledge, this is the first time a link between hearing and personality changes has been established in longitudinal studies. Surprisingly, we did not find that declining overall health and functional capacity make people less outgoing. But hearing loss directly affects the quality of social situations. If the perceived quality of social interaction goes down, it may eventually affect whether and how we relate to others,’ says Anne Ingeborg Berg, PhD, licensed psychologist and researcher at the Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg.

The study yields interesting knowledge about personality development late in life, and also points to the importance of acknowledging and treating hearing loss among the elderly.

The utilisation of hearing aids did not affect the correlation found, which suggests that there is a need for support in the use of aids such as hearing devices.

‘Our previous studies have shown that outgoing individuals are happier with their lives. It is hypothesised that an outgoing personality reflects a positive approach to life, but it also probably shows how important it is for most people to share both joy and sadness with others. Even if we can’t conclude anything about causal relationships, we can guess that the link between hearing loss and social withdrawal forms a potential threat to older people’s wellbeing,’ says Berg.


The study, conducted by Anne Ingeborg Berg and Boo Johansson from the ADA – Gero Group, Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, was published in February 2014 in Journal of Personality.

Radio National – Hearing and the cocktail party problem

Hi everyone, here is a link to an interesting program which just aired on Radio National on Monday. It touches upon a number of important issues which people with hearing loss might want to think about. As the reporter details, you should be suitably wary of any offers of free hearings tests as they are a sign you’ll be subjected to aggressive selling tactics. It also explains how these dubious selling tactics came into being.

Click here to check it out.