06-19-2006
 
Varibel, Meppel, The Netherlands, has introduced a new type of directional eyeglass hearing aid in Europe: the Varibel.

The glasses were originally developed by Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, but it was Varibel, in connection with Philips, Frame Holland, MMID, and Verhoeven, that created the glasses as a consumer product.

Unlike traditional hearing aids, Varibel has a row of four interconnected microphones in each leg of the frame that intensify the sounds coming from the front while lessening surrounding noises. Varibel has been reportedly tested to have a directional sensitivity of +8.2 dB, compared to a maximum +4 dB of a traditional hearing aid, the company reports. This solution allows users to hear more naturally in the direction they are facing.

The hearing aid eyeglasses can be combined with prescription lenses for a two-in-one solution to vision and auditory problems. The device is limited to a Dutch release, but may see a wider release down the line.