More than 700,000 Kiwis are affected by hearing loss, which is why this World Hearing Day (March 3), hearing aid company Oticon is urging people to take charge of their health and acknowledge the widespread impact hearing loss can have on everyday lives.
Each year the World Health Organisation (WHO) release a Report on Hearing which reveals critical data underlying the number of people suffering from hearing loss, many without treating it. Current data shows that only 17 percent of those who could benefit from wearing a hearing aid actually wear one.
Corey Ackerman from Oticon New Zealand says the earlier hearing loss is detected, the less impact it can have on someone’s life.
“The ability to communicate well and feel confident in social environments is vital to keep people leading an active life, which has significant benefits for health and wellbeing.”
Recently arriving in New Zealand, Oticon More is a world first hearing aid, equipped with ground breaking AI and trained with 12 million real life sound scenes. The device was developed after research found that people with hearing loss need access to all sounds for their brains to work in a natural way.
“Most people think we hear with our ears, but our brains are actually our main tool for hearing. Oticon More uses AI technology, a Deep Neural Network, to help the brain hear sound in a natural and effective way,” says Ackerman.
“Traditional hearing aids can block out vital surrounding sound, but Oticon More scans and analyses a sound scene at 500 times per second allowing the brain to process key sounds, such as someone else speaking or a bird chirping, even in a noisy, crowded environment.”
The device can be linked to compatible smartphones and allows users to directly steam music and phone calls into their ears. It can also be connected to the TV, computer and smart home devices with the use of additional accessories.
Unique to other hearing aids, Oticon More offers a clearer more distinct contrast between sounds, a quality that conventional technology has never been able to deliver.
“Oticon’s progress in the use of AI is a quantum leap in creating natural, clear, complete and balanced sounds. We hope this advancing sonic technology will deliver greater freedom for many,” says Ackerman.
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