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A Method to Support the Evaluation of Hearing Instruments through Product Simulation

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000202137D
Original Publication Date: 2010-Dec-06
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2010-Dec-06
Document File: 2 page(s) / 71K

Publishing Venue

Siemens

Related People

Juergen Carstens: CONTACT

Abstract

When a patient visits an audiologist for an examination, and hearing loss is discovered, they are typically presented with the decision to either pursue the sizeable purchase for a hearing aid device or manage their quality of life without it. Patients who have never worn a hearing device before typically delay this decision, feeling that they may not really need it. In the following, a novel solution is proposed that describes a device that provides patients with a method to sample the performance of different hearing device products via simulation, to help the audiologist and the patient make an informed decision prior to a purchase of the actual hearing instruments. The format of the physical device allows it to be worn on or about the patient's head. The basic device contains a monaural earphone-microphone element that will be fitted into or around the patient's ear for product simulations on a single ear. A second earphone-microphone element may be easily attached for binaural product simulations. A variety of generic interchangeable earmold fittings are connected to the earphone-microphone elements to specifically simulate the product shell size, the canal length, the vent types and sizes, and the monaural / binaural product arrangement and operation. Once assembled according to physical requirements for the patient, the dispenser or audiologist downloads the patient's audiological requirements into the device based on data obtained from their previous audiological testing.

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A Method to Support the Evaluation of Hearing Instruments through Product Simulation

Idea: Amit Vaze, US-Piscataway, New Jersey; James Edward DeFinis, US-Piscataway, New Jersey

When a patient visits an audiologist for an examination, and hearing loss is discovered, they are typically presented with the decision to either pursue the sizeable purchase for a hearing aid device or manage their quality of life without it. Patients who have never worn a hearing device before typically delay this decision, feeling that they may not really need it.

In the following, a novel solution is proposed that describes a device that provides patients with a method to sample the performance of different hearing device products via simulation, to help the audiologist and the patient make an informed decision prior to a purchase of the actual hearing instruments.

The format of the physical device allows it to be worn on or about the patient's head. The basic device contains a monaural earphone-microphone element that will be fitted into or around the patient's ear for product simulations on a single ear. A second earphone-microphone element may be easily attached for binaural product simulations. A variety of generic interchangeable earmold fittings are connected to the earphone-microphone elements to specifically simulate the product shell size, the canal length, the vent types and sizes, and the monaural / binaural product arrangement and operation. Once assembled according to physical requirements for the patient, the dispenser or audiologist downloads the patient's audiological requirements into the device based on data obtained from their previous audiological testing.

The device's support software will be web based, enabling the dispenser or the audiologist to consider hearing instruments from a variety of instrument manufacturer product lines for the patient to test with. After the patient's audiological requirements are loaded, the dispenser or the audiologist "shops" online for one or more specific hearing products that they like to trial, and downloads the simulation performance characteristics into the device. If more than one product is loaded into the devices memory, the device provides the patient and the audiologist with the ability to switch between them to compare the operational differences.

The simulation performance characteristics consider the required receiver power based on the patients audiological prescription, the manufacturer's selection for receiver type and brand for consideration and simulation of any anomalous effects, the microphone sensitivity and directionality, the manufacturer's selection microphone type and brand for consideration and simulation of any anomalous effects, and the manufacturer's simulation...