AI optimizes hearing aid performance in real time

October 30, 2020 // By Rich Pell
AI optimizes hearing aid performance in real time
Hearing aid manufacturer Widex says it is the first to use AI to optimize hearing aid performance in real time.

The company says it is using its AI-powered SoundSense Learn technology to create a better, more natural and personalized sound experience for hearing aid users.

"By applying artificial intelligence, a hearing solution learns how users prefer various listening environments and gives them greater control over their hearing experience," says Widex Head of Audiology Lise Henningsen. "By being the first to embrace AI, Widex benefits from years of continuous machine learning and hearing aid optimization that other hearing aid manufacturers have not yet developed. It is a key reason Widex is able to deliver its revolutionary natural sound."

SoundSense Learn processes inputs from connected hearing aids throughout the world and shares anonymized data with a cloud-based AI system. The system then continuously learns how to further optimize hearing aid settings in different situations for specific wearers.

SoundSense Learn presents users with A-B comparisons to begin understanding how a person wearing compatible Widex hearing aids prefers sound in an environment. SoundSense Learn manages three acoustic parameters - low, mid, and high frequencies - that can each be set to 13 different levels, resulting in more than 2,000 possible settings.

To A-B test each setting, says the company, would require more than two million tests, but by using machine-learning algorithms, SoundSense Learn requires only about a dozen comparisons to calculate the optimal settings for the individual person. The SoundSense Learn algorithms also track the user's individual adjustments and draw from other user settings stored in the cloud to more precisely tailor the hearing aids to one's surroundings.

When applied, the settings create a personalized hearing experience based on context, content, and intent. Users can store the settings as programs in their smartphones and activate them throughout the day, such as when they're at work, at the supermarket, or in their kitchen. Anonymized, the programs can also be stored in a secure, cloud-based system and help enhance the hearing experience of other users.

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