Years ago my father began to lose his hearing as he aged and eventually got hearing aids. Since his hearing loss was mild, he ended up not using them much because he said they only made the noise louder. They didn’t help him understand what people were saying to him. This is a common complaint among many hearing aid users. There is hearing aid technology that does make understanding voices clearer, but these can cost thousands of dollars. Colorado company Able Planet, recently announced an over the counter alternative called the Personal Sound Amplifier. An affordable hearing aid that utilizes their noise cancelling technology.
Able Planet uses their Linx Audio technology to make voices stand out from unwanted background noises. Basically the Linx Audio takes in all noises, then recognizes and amplifies voice frequencies while dampening background noises. The converted audio is then channeled deep into the ear canal. Here is how Popular Science describes the Personal Sound Amplifier functions:
Just as in a pair of noise-canceling earphones, a microphone in the dime-size, in-ear Personal Sound Amplifier feeds noise to a microprocessor. Rather than eliminating sounds by generating competing frequencies (or by using metamaterials), though, the Amplifier’s processor isolates and selectively amplifies vocal frequencies (starting around 80 hertz) while dampening ambient sounds. The company’s signal-processing algorithm also adds a slight high-frequency boost to voices, allowing them to further stand out without the need for additional—and potentially harmful—volume. If a user still has trouble hearing, he can force the Amplifier to retune by cupping his hand over his ear. The mic senses the echo of the eardrum off the hand, and that signals the processor to quickly adjust its levels, ensuring that the wearer won’t miss a word.
More Than Hearing Aids
Able Planet is actually a assistive listening technology company at it’s core, which their name implies. Though in order to generate enough funds to research and produce such technology they made and continue to make mass consumer products. Such as headphones and earphones for music, computing, and gaming. They’ve been pretty successful which allowed them to create the Personal Sound Amplifier which is scheduled for release in May and retail for $800 a pair. To view all of Able Planet’s products visit their website here www.AblePlanet.com.