Research has shown that new wearers of hearing instruments report background noise to be significantly more annoying after being fit with hearing instruments. Although many believe that longer-duration noise signals are most annoying, transient noises, such as paper rustling or shattering glass, were found to be as annoying to patients in a recent study.

Traditional digital noise reduction algorithms (DNR) do not always recognize transient noise, and do not provide fast enough processing for these sounds. SoundSmoothing™, found exclusively in CENTRA™ hearing instruments, is a new DNR algorithm specifically designed to address annoying transient environmental noises. SoundSmoothing is used in conjunction with other DNR processing or independently, as it is an enhancement and not a replacement for traditional DNR algorithms.

The SoundSmoothing algorithm works quickly and efficiently. First, a spectro-temporal analysis is completed. The spectral information allows SoundSmoothing to attenuate specific frequencies without affecting those areas free of transient sounds. Temporal properties are calculated with a very high resolution and exceptionally low processing delay. In the next stage, envelope features are extracted to determine whether speech sounds are present. An attenuation factor is then calculated for non-speech sounds only.

SoundSmoothing can be programmed independently for Minimum, Medium, and Maximum attenuation in each listening program of CENTRA. The maximum gain reduction indicates how much attenuation is possible, while the actual gain reduction depends on the slope and peak level of the transient signal. To ensure that very soft transient noises, which can often be important, are audible, sounds that fall below the detection threshold are not affected by SoundSmoothing.

The ability to program SoundSmoothing for each patient’s preference allows for the most personal, natural, and comfortable listening experience in any sound environment. And, that means more satisfied wearers.

For information, contact:
Siemens Hearing Instruments Piscataway, NJ, (800) 766-4500