Inspire OS is a comprehensive new fitting system released by Starkey Laboratories. Included in Inspire OS is a real-world simulation tool called Surround Town that sets the standard for virtual reality in a hearing aid application.

Surround Town creates a virtual reality through animation and 5.1 surround-sound audio files that simulate specific sound sources. Initial scenes include a Restaurant, Car, and Home. In each scene, a green character represents the position of the patient. When any element in the scene is turned on, it animates and plays the associated sound at a realistic level relative to the patient: softer when it’s far away, louder when it’s up close. When the patient is listening to a conversation in the restaurant, and another element in the scene (eg, piano, waiter) is turned on, the sounds will be presented from the speakers at an appropriate level and location. The Restaurant screen-shot shown here illustrates a hearing aid user at a table with other diners. The waiter, the piano, and conversations at other tables are all active, creating a virtual dining experience. This scene provides the patient with an acoustic demonstration of a real-world environment.

Surround Town is flexible enough to be used in every part of the fitting process:

  • Pre-fitting: Demonstrate how amplification will help to improve hearing in a variety of listening environments.
  • Fitting: Verify the hearing instrument response in a variety of environments before leaving the office. Counsel the patient on how to handle difficult sound environments.
  • Post-fitting: Simulate and troubleshoot difficult situations during follow-up appointments.

Benefits of Surround Town include individualization of the patient experience, setting of realistic expectations, improved fine-tuning capabilities, validation of adaptive features, greater counseling efficacy, reduced office visits, lower return rates, and ultimately improved patient outcomes and practice success.

For information, contact:
Starkey LaboratoriesEden Prairie, Minn, (800) 328-8602