Resound One: Launch of the first in ear mic and receiver
Posted 1st September 2020by Adam Chell
Resound One: Launch
Today, Resound launched the Resound One hearing aid using a really cool virtual conference platform. Seeing the manufacturers step up to the plate with Covid-19 has been amazing and I feel we may see some permanent changes in the way training and product launches are delivered in the future.
Resound One is an exciting launch as it is the first ever behind the ear hearing aid to feature a microphone on the receiver, which is the part that goes in to the ear. At first, when I heard the news, I thought this was instead of the usual two microphones on the hearing aid. However, each Resound One hearing aid actually has 3 microphones if you opt for the M+RIE receivers.
Localisation and Directionality
The purpose of the additional microphone in the ear canal is to improve localisation and overall sound quality. This is because it makes use of something called the pinna effect. Our ears are designed to direct sound in to the ear canal and also amplify important speech frequencies. Before now, manufacturers have had to simulate this effect with behind the ear hearing aids which is obviously no substitution for the real thing.
As this is a launch, I can’t advocate how well this technology works but the concept and logic behind it makes sense. However, the first question anyone in the business will ask is, “how is it dealing with feedback?”
Resound One and feedback management
Feedback occurs when sound leaving the hearing aid re-enters through the microphone. When this loop gain increases (for example, when you bring your hand up to your ear, or if your hearing aids are set very loud) feedback or whistling can occur. Having the microphone closer to the speaker increases the chance of this destructive feedback occurring. However, with improvement in technology hearing aid manufacturers are getting very good at managing feedback to prevent it from becoming a hindrance to the listening experience for the user.
DFS III is Resound’s answer to feedback management and it uses a variety of strategies to manage feedback. Static control is about taking in to account unchanging factors such as the dome/mould type, ear shape, and hearing aid components. Dynamic control is more reactive and adapts to your changing acoustic environments. By combining these two factors you end up with a solution that is effective even with the microphone right next to the speaker, such as in the Resound One.
Having 3 microphones on each ear means that there is greater choice in how the hearing aid functions and with Resounds Binaural processing strategy hearing in noise should now be easier than with previous generations. Lets dive a little deeper in to the function of each microphone:
The M+RIE microphone works independently of the other two. It is used in low noise situations when an omnidirectional strategy is preferred. It makes use of the natural pinna effect and so the sound is meant to be more natural. The hearing aid adapts automatically to decide whether the M+RIE should take preference.
Front + Back Microphone
The front and back microphone on the hearing aids work together to process the direction and amplitute of sound coming in. This helps with reducing background noise and improving audibility of speech. For the first time in a Resound hearing aid, they are utilising binaural processing so that there is a 4 microphone array which significant improves the directionality effect.
With more microphones we can improve on signal to noise ratios. The Resound One is capable of applying highly directional beamforming. This is great for speech intelligibility if used appropriately. However, time has told us that hearing aids are not very good at recognising when to apply this and so it is only available on it’s strongest setting as a manual program. The audiologist would need to manually assign this and it is called ‘Ultra Focus’.
Weighted Directionality in Resound One
To create a real world solution for speech-in-noise issues GN have created a weighted directionality system for the Resound One. The low frequencies are kept omnidirectional to preserve Interaural time differences. Mid frequencies have applied beamforming to capture speech cues and to maximise audibility in noise. High frequencies (above 5KHz) have an independent fixed directional system which preserves monaural spectral cues. This helps with locating sounds more accurately.
Phone use with M+RIE
Phone use has been massively undersold by Resound but for me it’s one of the strongest selling points for the Resound One. Using a phone is critical for many users and positioning the phone appropriately is always an issue. With a microphone positioned on the entrance of the ear canal there is no need to reposition the phone when using it with the Resound One hearing aids. The sound is clear and audible without significant feedback. This will save time on counselling users on appropriate use and means it is more intuitive for the users.
Resound One Fitting software
I have been wearing the Resound One hearing aids all morning and also playing around with the fitting software. There are a couple of hidden gems in the Resound software which I hadn’t noticed before.
In the menu there is a drop down called speech scores and this applies your quickSIN scores to the fitting. As far as I’m aware they are the only manufacturer to offer this. When applied it adjusts the focus ear in some way. As such, if you have particularly poor speech scores on one ear compared to the other it leans on the better ear a bit more.
Resound have always been ahead of the game when it comes to remote assistance and teleaudiology. Up until recently people didn’t really value it the way they do now. As far as I’m aware they are the only manufacturer to offer both synchronous and asynchronous remote fine tuning to your clients.
This has only been available for a few months but this allows you to offer real time adjustments to the users hearing aids. You can conduct in-situ audiometry, feedback measurements, and a full range of gain adjustments. As an audiologist, if you haven’t offered this to your clients before you would need to register your account to offer this. To initiate the remote session you call the client through the software to their app. You then get full control of their device and can make all your necessary adjustments.
This allows the client to send through a request for a change in settings through the iPhone. This is the way Resound have always done things and it’s great for non-urgent issues that need to be resolved. I love this method as it can be done between clients and is extremely efficient.
The concept of Resound One is so simple but yet so effective. It hasn’t been utilised before because the feedback management technology probably couldn’t handle it but we have now reached a point where this feature is usable. I think this is something other manufacturers will quickly copy because it just makes sense. The biggest selling point for me was when I discovered how well I could hear on a non-bluetooth phone without having to reposition the handset to the top of the ear. It will make using the phone much more intuitive to many users. I’m sure it will be a popular device and for now, I have no real issues with the any of the featured technology. Lets hope it lives up to the hype with real people.
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