2002: 47th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians

Smaller, more powerful, better: Hearing Systems for Every Need

Leipzig, 10 October 2002. – There is no standstill in hearing aid acoustics: a fact that manifests itself once again at the world's biggest trade show for hearing systems held on the occasion of the 47th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians (UHA Congress) in Leipzig. From 10 to 12 October 2002, the industry will be presenting in Leipzig the latest technological advances in the areas of hearing aid development, fitting strategies, and accessories. At the Congress, 4,000 specialists from all over the world will be discussing the possibilities available to people with hearing difficulties.

No matter if we are dealing with in-the-ear or behind-the-ear hearing aids: modern hearing systems are characterised by an enormous variety in the product range and design. However, there is one thing that all hearing devises have in common: hearing aids are getting smaller and smaller, more powerful and more natural in sound. And the industry continues to make progress: with the step from analogue via digital to fully digital hearing instruments completed, the improvement of the details is on the agenda now. The hearing system of the future brings out speech sounds more distinctly, suppresses feedback noise almost completely, and filters out background noise without any problems. Modern hearing systems are even able to localise sound so that it is quite easy to determine the direction from where the sound originates. Further features of the new generation of hearing systems include: a pleasant design, they are easily operated, fully automatic, energy-saving, and environmentally friendly. A high quality in hearing aid supply can, however, only be maintained thanks to an appropriate fitting by the hearing aid acoustician. So that fitting procedures can be carried out in a more individual manner, new fitting strategies will be one of the central topics of the Congress.

All the innovations exhibited at the 47th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians will be presented in the following. As members of the "Forum Besser Hören" (Better Hearing Forum) all the manufacturers have committed themselves to observing the requirements of the Forum's quality certificate.



A Survey of all the Innovative Products

Audio Service, Herford
Voyage – The New High-End Hearing System

At the 47th International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians, Audio Service is presenting Voyage, the hearing system that provides better speech intelligibility. Voyage with its up to four different programs (e.g. for speech intelligibility or music), which are specifically adaptable to the individual hearing aid user's needs, ensures better hearing and understanding in a variety of different environments. Moreover, one should draw attention to the feature of wind noise reduction, which is capable of reducing disturbing noises induced by aerodynamic turbulences in the ear. Apart from that, Voyage is equipped with three mechanisms for noise reduction and speech recognition. The new "Vienna filter" recognises disturbing noise and reduces amplification without affecting speech. This results in top speech intelligibility.

Furthermore, Audio Service is presenting an indigenous innovation at Leipzig: with the collaboration of the Institute for New Materials, Audio Service has developed hearing aids with soil-resistant and antibacterial coatings. The sol-gel technology used here provides the following benefits: dirt and humidity are repelled from the surface, the hearing aids can easily be cleaned, and hearing aid users may benefit from hygienic cleanness and wearing comfort. Hearing aids with the ComforMed coating provide an additional antibacterial effect and act as anti-inflammatory agents.

Beltone, Hamburg
Oria – The First Hearing Aid that Automatically Adapts to the Hearing Capability

Beltone is introducing an indigenous innovation at Leipzig: Oria is the first product line of hearing aids in the history of hearing aid technology that ideally adapt to the hearing capability while worn. Automatically and without the wearer noticing, Oria subtly optimises more than 50 parameters. Thus the acclimatisation period is considerably facilitated and the new SATISFY™ technology increases instant as well as long-term acceptance. Oria is equipped with all the modern digital features such as feedback suppression, speech recognition, and noise reduction. One should also draw attention to Oria's compatibility with the wireless BT-100 headset from GN Netcom, Beltone's subsidiary company. This wireless Bluetooth headset guarantees maximum flexibility during telephone use and maximum hearing comfort at the same time.

At the UHA Congress, Beltone is moreover presenting the next generation of AVE™, an interactive fitting environment for adapting Oria and other hearing systems. AVE™ facilitates the fitting procedure for the hearing aid acoustician, thus also providing an ideal solution for those affected by impaired hearing.

Bernafon, Berlin
Bernafon: Symbio – A Most Precise Picture of Sound and the Highest Comfort

Symbio is Bernafon's new advanced digital hearing solution, combining high tech with comfort. Incoming signals were formerly split into channels according to frequency components and processed in this way. Symbio's advanced technology is based on the human ear's distinctive functionality: Symbio hearing systems process sounds as continuous entities. Due to real-time calculations these hearing systems adapt gain and filter settings to the current situation 16,000 times per second – more precision is hardly possible.

The processes described result in excellent speech intelligibility and a clear, natural sound. Symbio is fully automatic, which testifies to the fact that its developers set great store by making it comfortable to wear. Simply insert the hearing system, switch it on and enjoy a new dimension of sound.

Bruckhoff & Partner, Hanover
Freestyle and La Belle: Trouble-Free Communication

At Leipzig, Bruckhoff & Partner is presenting La Belle, a pair of hearing spectacles which does not look like a hearing aid at all: the hearing aid is integrated into the ear-piece of the frame. The model is firmly set against the head, making an ear mould redundant. What's new as well: the Freestyle hearing system, which adapts to the wearer's individual needs, facilitating trouble-free communication in any situation. Further benefits of both of these models include: individual fitting, several technological versions, attractive design and high wearing comfort. In the case of hearing problems, La Belle as well as Freestyle are suitable for the open supply of hearing aids. La Belle is available with an optional tinnitus accessory.

GN ReSound, Münster
Unique in the World: The Complete Family of Digital Hearing Instruments

There is the right hearing system for each and every customer's needs and for each and every purse: Canta is the only complete family of digital hearing instruments whose success is based on one and the same technological platform. No matter if we are dealing with Canta7, Canta4 or Canta2: the benefits are obvious. At the 2002 UHA Congress, GN ReSound is presenting the latest offspring of this family: Canta2, while Canta 280 Power is a more powerful version, available as of now.

At Leipzig, GN ReSound is also introducing the Bluetooth version for hearing aid fitters and wearers. The Pocket Aventa software and a handheld device provide wireless programming for the patient's hearing instrument. For the end customer, GN ReSound presents an innovative headset which permits wireless communication by mobile phone. SoundXpert facilitates the fitting procedure even further: GN ReSound's Aventa fitting software has already become well-known for its easy and structured handling. Now the hearing aid acoustician can easily get the three-dimensional world of sound into the fitting cabin: by using SoundXpert, the sound tool integrated into Aventa to restore 3D sound impressions.

Hansaton, Hamburg
Premio – Advanced Technology with Eight Channels

At Leipzig, Hansaton is presenting Premio, a hearing system designed with the results of the latest research conducted at the University of Cambridge in mind. As a consequence, Premio operates in eight frequency domains with eight independently adjustable AGCi systems. A subtly graded 16-channel system analyses speech and noise components. Further benefits of the multi-microphone system include: automatic localisation of backward or moving noise sources such as cars, automatic suppression and recognition of wind noises, loudness-optimised switching between omnidirectional and directional operation. Thanks to the "Life Adjustment" module, Premio adapts to the user's daily routine and his acoustic environment: this enables the wearer to take an active part in conversations despite surrounding noise, and guarantees that disturbing noise signals are automatically suppressed in a quiet environment. Apart from this, the system is feedback-proof in any situation.

Moreover, Hansaton is presenting the Junior Edition, an all-inclusive package available with the Activo, Vital, and Premio hearing systems, and equally appealing to parents and children. The Junior Edition consists of a backpack, a painting book, a crayon kit, and a care set. In addition, children may now choose between four different colours for hearing systems, ear moulds, and case.

Hörmann Audifon, Kölleda
DiWise® – Precision in Hearing

At the UHA Congress, Hörmann Audifon is presenting the new digital devices from the DiWise® family of hearing aids. Their benefits include: more brilliant hearing, better selectivity in differentiation, accurate adjustment to individual hearing situations. Incoming sound signals are transformed into digital signals, which are then processed by means of individually adapted hearing programs. Up to four different frequency channels enable the hearing aid acoustician to adjust the device more accurately than ever as required by the hearing aid user. Additional features include noise suppression, an adjustable battery end-of-life alarm function, and feedback management. All these not only bring more comfort, but also more precise hearing, sound by sound. Moreover, the DiWise® hearing systems are easy to operate, fully automatic, and low in energy consumption. New behind-the-ear devices will add to Hörmann Audifon's product range from a visual as well as an acoustic point of view.

Interton, Bergisch-Gladbach
Soft-Wear for the Ears

At this year's UHA Congress, Interton is introducing Silflex™, an innovative in-the-ear technology which is based on research on medical implants. In contrast to conventional shell technology, Silflex™ consists of soft, flexible silicone material, into which the hearing system is cast. This means that the sophisticated hearing aid technology is well protected from outside influences (shock, wetness, falling, etc.), the system adapts to the ear's daily form, thus offering high waering comfort.

This combination of the latest in hearing aid technology and Silflex™ will be available from 30 January 2003.

Oticon, Hamburg
Digital Hearing Quality for Everyone

Oticon, the Danish hearing aid manufacturer, is introducing the new Atlas family of hearing aids at Leipzig. Atlas combines the latest technologies with auditory experience and modern manufacturing processes. This results in a digital hearing system available at a surprisingly affordable price. The reason for this unusual price-performance ratio is to be seen in switching from manufacturing by hand to robotics, which facilitates the production of robust and reliable devices that are characterised by a low repair quota and considerably lowered battery consumption. These features are long-term benefits for the hearing aid wearer. Atlas is available as behind-the-ear, in-the-ear and completely-in-the-canal hearing aids. All these versions amplify specifically those sounds which the wearer would otherwise not be able to hear. At the same time, they protect him against too high sound levels. A special fitting program ensures a straight-forward fitting procedure and easy acclimatisation.

Phonak, Fellbach
Supero, a High-Performance Hearing System for People with Profound Hearing Loss

Phonak, the hearing aid company based in Switzerland, is introducing Supero, a high-performance line of hearing systems specifically designed for the individual needs of people with profound hearing loss. The driving force behind these hearing computers, apart from superior amplifier power, is their maximum adaptability and excellent exploitation of residual hearing. Their connectivity to radio systems considerably facilitates hearing in difficult acoustic conditions over longer distances, in reverberation or noise. The Supero range of products includes three models for different individual needs and requirements, and is especially suited for children and young people.

At the UHA Congress, Phonak is moreover presenting a behind-the-ear device from the Aero product line, as well as Claro 11 CIC, the world's first hearing aid with a digital microphone. This means that the Aero and Claro product ranges have now been completed.

Siemens Audiologische Technik, Erlangen
Triano – Ingenious Innovation with Three Microphones

At Leipzig, Siemens Audiologische Technik is presenting Triano, a family of hearing aids equipped with the so-called Hearing Comfort System. Its benefits include: automatic identification of various hearing situations, adaptive directionality, and unique signal processing technology. These ensure that speech is clearly enhanced even in the case of moving noise sources, smoothly and without unpleasant regulation effects. Other innovations comprise Triano 3, the world's first hearing system equipped with three microphones (TriMic™ technology), and Triano SP, the first digital hearing system with directional microphone technology for people with profound hearing loss, which is also an ingenious innovation. Triano Micro-CIC is Siemens Audiologische Technik's technically most advanced in-the-ear hearing system.

iIn order to ensure better fitting of modern hearing systems, Siemens has developed a unique interactive fitting software, which makes it possible to program the hearing system with the hearing aid wearer's preferred settings using sound specimens. The visual support of the sound specimens guarantees particularly realistic adaptation.

Starkey, Norderstedt
Axent – New Digital Hearing Quality

The new product line from Starkey Laboratories is called Axent. The hearing aid which is available as a behind-the-ear, in-the-ear or completely-in-the canal device, has flexible settings and may be re-adapted to the wearer's needs whenever required. Digital fine tuning is performed according to four separately selectable areas which may be individually adapted. Dual microphone technology ensures that sounds coming from the front are emphasised.

Moreover, Axent is equipped with an adaptive noise suppression system which allows recognisably better speech intelligibility, especially in noise. Axent prevents feedback by means of an innovative feedback suppression system. The two systems are chip-controlled, and respond before disturbing noise or feedback can occur.

Unitron, Bremen
Unison 2 and 4: The New Digital Middle-Market Devices

At Leipzig, Unitron is introducing Unison 2 and Unison 4, two new lines of products which, despite an excellent price-performance ratio, do not compromise on sound quality, speech intelligibility, or comfort. Unison 2, suitable for all kinds of hearing loss, is available as a tiny in-the-ear device as well as a behind-the-ear system. This model from the basic range is equipped with all the features that characterise digital hearing aids: individually adjustable, it offers good sound quality and superior speech intelligibility. Further benefits include fully automatic operation, low-noise suppression, several programs, and – in the case of the in-the-ear device – a miniature directional microphone.

Unison 4 additionally offers a miniature directional microphone also for the behind-the-ear hearing aid as well as even more advanced adaptability to individual requirements. It is equipped with up to three programs which may be adjusted and switched on and off as required. Four types of signal processing help create optimum applications for these programs, which results in perfect hearing comfort.

Widex micro-technic, Stuttgart
More Fun in Hearing: The New Power Generation of the Bravo Product Line

At the UHA Congress, Widex micro-technic is presenting three new power hearing aids from the Bravo series which ensure pleasant sound reproduction and superior speech intelligibility in any situation: low signals become audible, loud signals never become too loud, and the sound is as natural as possible. Bravo helps to safely manage every-day situations and makes sure that the user can enjoy the complete range of sounds.

Furthermore, Widex micro-technic is presenting hearing systems for children's ears. High speech intelligibility, minimum distortion, and maximum listening comfort are the requirements of pediatric hearing aids. For children, Widex micro-technic offers the widest range in the area of fully digital hearing aids. Special pediatric accessories, e.g. mini-hooks for children's ears, a tamper-resistant battery drawer, colourful shells and special care products, complete this offer. Additional hearing aids, such as the "MicroLink System" support optimum hearing and understanding even in difficult hearing situations.