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Apple seeks to improve hearing aid performance

Apple wants to make iPhone work better with hearing aids

BY

iPhones might eventually be able to detect the presence of a hearing aid.
iPhones might eventually be able to detect the presence of a hearing aid.
Photo: Soichi Yokoyama/Flickr CC
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted Apple 52 patents, including a notable patent for a new hearing aid technology that would make the iPhone an even better device for the hearing impaired.

This new hearing aid technology described in the patent could be implemented in a portable audio device, like the iPhone, in order to detect if the user has a hearing aid and then automatically adjust the audio signal so you don’t have to fumble with those little hearing aid volume knobs yourself.

Here’s how the patented technology could work: Say you’re wearing a hearing aid and gets a call. Instead of adjusting the volume manually, the iPhone would use proximity and magnetic field sensors to detect when the device is moved toward a hearing aid, and then amp up the volume. Theoretically, it could work in reverse as well.

Also, among the big batch of patents first reported by Patently Apple, is the description of a ‘Diamond Cutting Tool for Cutting Smooth Reflective Surfaces’ that’s used to give the iPhone a smooth, shiny finish. Apple’s been bragging about its diamond-cut rounded edges since the debut of the iPhone 5.

There’s no guarantee that Apple will include the new hearing aid patent invented by Shaohai Chen and Ching-Yu Tam in the future, however the company has been a leader in regard to accessibility. It has won a Helen Keller Achievement Award for its Voice-Over feature to help those with vision impairments use an Apple device. More accessibility improvements are likely on the way in iOS 9 and the iPhone 6s. Hopefully the new hearing aid tech is one of them.

Apple patented hearing aid improvements

 

Apple’s plans to improve support for hearing impaired users was revealed in US Patent Filings.

By Neil Hughes – AppleInsider

The applications published  by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and discovered by AppleInsider are entitled, Social Network for Sharing a Hearing Aid Setting and Remotely Updating a Hearing Aid Profile. They both describe smart hearing aids that could wirelessly connect to devices to make life easier for users with hearing issues.

SOCIAL NETWORK FOR SHARING A HEARING AID SETTING

The applications come as Apple is set to offer built-in support for new “Made for iPhone” hearing aids later this year with the launch of iOS 6. The new hardware accessories will offer compatibility with Apple’s latest-generation model, the iPhone 4S.

But Apple’s newly published patent applications go much farther than just a certified iPhone accessory. Specifically, the social network patent describes a system through which users who rely on hearing aids could communicate with one another and share information in the interest of improving the overall quality of life of the members.

“With the advent of programmable hearing aids whose signal processing can be at least partially modified, what is desired is providing a hearing aid user the ability to modify the audio processing of the programmable hearing aid in the context for which the hearing aid will be used,” the filing reads.

Apple’s proposed networking system would rely on a user’s portable device, like an iPhone, that is connected to their wireless hearing aid. The iPhone would then communicate with other users and share settings so that they might obtain an ideal hearing aid configuration for their current location or activity.

Ideal hearing aid settings could also be stored and shared through other devices, like a computer or television set.

The second patent, related to remotely updating the settings on a hearing aid, describes how a system could save different configured profiles for specific circumstances. This would allow the user of a hearing aid “to modify the audio processing of the programmable hearing aid in real time in accordance with the context for which the hearing aid is or will be used.”

These stored, quickly selectable profiles could be shared between iPhones in Apple’s social networking concept, which could make life easier for users with hearing issues.

Both the social networking application and the concept for remotely updating a hearing aid profile were were first filed with the USPTO in January of 2011. Both proposed inventions are credited to Edwin W. Foo and Gregory F. Hughes.

Tinnitus Treatment Solutions

Tinnitus Treatments

Ringing in the ears, also known as tinnitus, causes suffering for millions of patients. Many people are incorrectly told “nothing can be done”, and to “just learn to live with it.” At Tinnitus Treatment Solutions (TTS) we have deep experience in treating tinnitus patients and providing relief. Our tinnitus experts recognize that every patient is different, and your condition is unique. Therefore all tinnitus treatment solutions we offer are customizable to you – your hearing level, your tinnitus, your lifestyle and preferences. Our goal is to respect each patient’s individual needs and desires while managing his or her conditon effectively for the best outcome. 

About Tinnitus Treatments

There are several excellent treatment options, including tinnitus hearing aids with integrated sound therapy, and other sound therapy options including the SoundCure® Serenade®. These treatments are well established, clinically sound, safe and proven to be effective in most patients. TTS utilizes the HaRTTM (Habituation Retraining Therapy) program with proper tinnitus education and treatment guidance, proper use of sound therapy, and the care of an expert tinnitus audiologist focused on your treatment and working to bring you relief from tinnitus.

Get personal, customized treatment

• Discuss your lifestyle, hearing, tinnitus relief, comfort and budget needs

• Sound therapy is natural – no pills, surgery, or drugs

• Audiologists/tinnitus specialists on staff, ready to help you

• Services available nationwide

Common Tinnitus Treatment Questions We Address

If you are wondering “will this work for me?” We encourage you to have a brief phone discussion with one of our clincians. The emotional aspect of tinnitus – the stress, fear, frustration and anxiety that it can cause – are important areas to address. Often the best way to find a solution is to call for an evaluation and then try a treatment approach through a risk-free trial with the support of the tinnitus specialists/audiologist, who can guide you through the process. We provide all patient education and counseling – a highly important aspect of treatment. 

The Tinnitus Treatment Solutions 4-Step Process

What causes tinnitus?

Is there a cure for tinnitus?

What is the best tinnitus treatment?

Frequently, tinnitus is the result of noise exposure. There are many other potential causes, including head injury, ear wax, medications, and some diseases. Many people who are exposed to loud noise, especially over a prolonged period of time, experience tinnitus. Because there are so many different causes of tinnitus, it is best to get a proper diagnosis from a tinnitus care specialist.

No, but often it can be effectively managed. We favor a sound therapy approach with the goal of habituation. Through habituation, patients find relief from their tinnitus in that they don’ t notice their tinnitus at all for long periods of time, or if they do notice it they find it less loud or bothersome. 

For clincally suitable patients, we favor the HaRT Program with the integration of sound therapy – the use of outside sounds to interfere with tinnitus, and/or to enable relaxation in conjunction with appropriate counseling in the treatment of tinnitus. Sound therapy has been proven to be one of the most effective approaches to tinnitus management. Any sound tool should be used under the supervision of an audiologist who provides the necessary education and counseling to build the structured framework for a total approach to habituation. 

http://www.bayaudiology.co.nz/tinnitus#3

Reduce risk of age-related hearing loss,

Increased intakes of omega-3 fats may reduce the risk of age-related hearing loss, shows a new study.

High omega-3 intake was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of age-related hearing loss (presbycusis) in people over the age of fifty.Hearing loss is the most common sensory disorder in the U.S.  A rich source of Omega-3 fats is wild-caught Salmon and sardines.

“NutraIngredients “reports:

“Other micronutrients have been linked to reducing the risk of age-related hearing loss. In 2007 scientists from Wageningen University reported that folic acid supplements delayed age-related hearing loss in the low frequency region …

Another study … indicated a role for beta carotene and vitamins C and E, and the mineral magnesium in preventing prevent both temporary and permanent hearing loss in guinea pigs and mice.”

WHY Hearing Aid EARMOLDS ?

Earmolds for Hearing Aids?

Hearing aid Earmolds (Ear Molds) can improve the listening experience of almost all hearing aids, BTE (Behind Ear), OE (Over the Ear), RIC (Receiver In Ear), OPEN FIT and IN The Ear aids. 

There can also be helpful for MP 3 players, motorcycle, off-road vehicles, aircraft insert headphones and cell phones.

Hearing Aid Earmolds

When a hearing loss patient selects a hearing aid —such as BTE (behind The Ear) hearing aids, RIC, or OPEN FIT— Custom-fit earmolds (Ear Molds) are often needed to ensure optimum performance, retention in the ear (keep from falling out) and comfort, especially in noisy situations. An open tube/tip doesn’t keep the noise out, but a well-fitted ear mold can. An OPEN FIT TIP can also easily fall out of the ear.

Hearing Aid Earmolds are a molded piece of plastic, hard acrylic, soft silicone rubber or other soft material shaped to fit a patient’s ear canal, and/or the outer ear structure (concha) surrounding the ear canal. Earmold types vary according where you purchase, the level of hearing loss, and the style of hearing aid, or device with which they’re connected. In many cases, earmolds fit only inside the ear canal (HCPB DIY), hidden from view. Other times, earmolds fit in the concha bowl as well as in the ear canal, shell and 1/2 shell. 

If you request a custom ear mold from your hearing care professional. They will take an impression of your ear canal and outer ear using a quick-setting plastic or silicone-like substance. The impression is sent to a specialty lab where it’s turned into an earmold replica of your ear structures.

A good Custom Earmold will greatly enhance your listening experience.  In order to have a custom earmold made, yoou need to have impressions of  your ear taken and mailed to an earmold lab. Or, you can make your own within 10 minutes, using HCPB DIY silicone rubber kits.

Making impressions of your ears is a very simple and usually safe process. Tens of thousands of customers have done this over the past 60 years.

A Custom Earmold will:

1) reduce the possibility of feedback since it forms a better airtight seal in the ear vs. a generic ear piece, earbud, dome/tip, (the ‘mushroom’ insert), 2) keep it more secure in the ear since it will take advantage of all the curves and contours of the your ear to hold it all in place, and 3) help reduce the occlusion effect. Occlusion is where a person’s ears feel ‘stuffy.’ People describe occlusion as if they are talking in a barrel.  It’s the same effect you have when you talk if your ears are all plugged up.

The occlusion effect is reduced by having the custom earmold vent (or loose fitting). A ‘breathing hole’ or ‘channel’ is usually drilled through the canal portion. Sometimes, if too much of the volume of the hearing aid escapes out through the vent hole it can cause the device to feedback/whistle/ squeal. Sometimes the answer is to plug the hole with lambs wool, to act as a filter, or simply to slightly remove a small portion of the material all along 1 side or the bottom, from front to back.

New Custom Laboratory Earmolds are made to attach to the speaker  (receiver) of the device. Plastic tubing is installed in it (for Behind-The-Ear aids). The plastic tubing is what attaches to the aid by slipping it over the earhook of the BTE hearing aid. The Curved Tubing is specially molded for hearing aid and Custom Earmold use. If you try to use straight tubing, it will crimp as it makes its right angle into the Custom Earmold and will prevent sound from passing through.

The HCPB  DIY EarMold silicones is DIY EARMOLDS for Hearing Aids, cell phones, aircraft, motocycles, Electronic Ear plugs  and other listening in noise situations…

The HCPB Instant Mold Silicone allows you, the 

consumer to make a professional looking, custom earmolds, directly in the office,

or home, in only minutes for your hearing aid. 

Permanent comfortable ear mold
Comfortable, Hearing Aid Earmold

There are earmolds for many applications available on this website. See the menu.