Hearing Solutions

Familiar voices may help in adapting to hearing aids

Whether it's a job, car or even the dark, adapting to anything that is new or unfamiliar, is never an easy feat. But when you lose your hearing, thankfully, there are devices and treatments in place to assist you. However, like any new venture, learning the ropes isn't always a walk in the park. 

Although the team at Adelaide Digital Hearing Solutions are happy to help you adapt to your new hearing aids, we can't unfortunately always be there after hours. However, research shows that familiar voices can help with speech recognition for those living with hearing damage.

Helping to hear

If you weren't able to listen and join in with conversations, how would it make you feel? Seeking help is recommended, but not all those living with a hearing impairment do, and instead find themselves isolated from friends and family.

To help with this, researcher Nancy Tye-Murray from Washington University School of Medicine developed specific software tools to help with the improvement of speech recognition for adults and children living with hearing loss1. The program is called customised learning: Exercise for Aural Rehabilitation, or clEAR for short. It allows those with hearing loss to practice listening and ultimately assists in training the ear to glean a clearer and better understanding of speech from the people who are familiar and most important to them.

A familiar voice can be more useful than you think.A familiar voice can be more useful than you think.

How does it work?

Following on from a previous study, which discovered that auditory training involving familiar voices may actually improve the ability of individuals living with hearing loss, Nancy and her team set out to ensure that clEAR used these results to shape the software2.

clEAR uses generic voices along with a system where users can practice and train listening to voices which are most familiar to them, all while playing computer games. This is done through the patient's spouse, children or grandchildren recording samples of common words, phrases and sounds.

The game concept allows all users to listen to the audio clips while playing. This encourages patients to enjoy training through wanting to improve on game scores. It's like no other software in the field.

"Hearing aids don't just amplify the voice you want to hear – they amplify everything," said Nancy. "So maybe a voice is louder, but it's not necessarily clearer. This type of training helps people pull a single voice from the background noise of a crowded restaurant, for example."

If you would like to check the ability of your hearing, contact Adelaide Digital Hearing Solutions on 1800 940 982 or click here to book your free* hearing check.

1Washington University in St. Louis, Patients with hearing loss benefit from training with loved one's voice. Accessed August 2017
2Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, Auditory Training With Frequent Communication Partners. Accessed August 2017

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