Sensimetrics Corporation, Malden, Mass, has announced the release of two new products: one simulates the communication difficulties caused by individual hearing losses, and the other makes improvements possible with custom-fit hearing aids and cochlear implants.
The Hearing Loss and Prosthesis Simulator (HeLPS) is desigend as a powerful software tool for dispensing professionals to help their clients and clients’ families make informed hearing care choices. Using simulation algorithms implemented in real time, HeLPS provides insight for family members about the impact of their loved one’s hearing loss on speech understanding, music appreciation, and environmental sound detection. It also conveys the improvements that are possible with hearing aids or cochlear implants, says the company.
As a communication training tool, HeLPS provides high-quality audio-visual speech recordings that demonstrate for family members the importance of lip-reading and speaking clearly. For the patient who is considering hearing aids, HeLPS gives a preview of the benefits that amplification will provide. HeLPS is also said to be a valuable tool in hearing conservation efforts and in professional education of audiologists and teachers.
HeLPS has undergone important revisions since the original version released in 2006. The new version is said to be easier to use, with all controls on one screen. It now has simplified hearing aid controls with an option for automatic fitting. It provides spectral plots of important signals in the simulation, and includes an expanded library of audio and audio-visual speech stimuli, including extended speech passages and child talkers.
The I-HeLPS Immersive Hearing Loss and Prosthesis Simulator is a wearable headset designed to simulate hearing loss, hearing aids, and cochlear implants for live sound in any environment. Unlike HeLPS, which uses computer-stored signals as input to the simulation, I-HeLPS uses ambient sounds as input. I-HeLPS is designed to shift accurately a listener’s auditory thresholds through the use of binaural microphones, controllable simulation algorithms, and earphones contained in a sound attenuating headset. I-HeLPS enables all of the demonstrations available with HeLPS, but with the immediate impact for the listener of experiencing hearing loss for live ambient sounds.
I-HeLPS reportedly provides high-accuracy simulations for demonstrating hearing loss and aids in family counseling, hearing-conservation programs, and professional training. The company says it can be valuable in research into hearing impairment and in assessments of auditory fitness for job performance.
Source: Sensimetrics Corporation