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New software to improve frequency range for hearing aid users

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Those who wear modern hearing aids could be in luck, according to experts who are behind a new piece of software developed at Cambridge University.

According to researchers, the new software will improve the quality of sound heard by those with hearing loss as it helps to better the amount of amplification of high-frequency sounds.

This is often a major problem for the ten per cent or so of the population who suffer from some kind of deafness and those behind it claim the improvement for wearers will be huge.

Indeed, it is said that it the new software will help to improve speech perception and sound localisation as well as the ability to hear sounds in music.

Known as CAM2, the new software relies on a previously unused method of fitting what's known as automatic gain control, which is based on the audiogram of the user.

This offers a much more individual insight into what a person's threshold for detecting sound at various levels is and, in turn, will ensure more of a tailored device.

An evaluation of the software was published in the Ear and Hearing journal and professor Brian Moore, who led the project, said things could change hugely as a result of the development.

"Until recently, hearing aids only provided amplification for frequencies up to 4–5kHz," he explained.

"Manufacturers have recently released hearing aids that can amplify frequencies up to 8–10kHz, but existing fitting methods do not give any recommendations for those higher frequencies."

However, the new software now allows the extension of the fitting range up to a total of 10kHz and further studies are planned over the next few months are scheduled.

Anything that helps improve the range of frequencies for those who suffer with hearing loss will be a welcome advancement for many and, while there is some way to go yet, it could see people have their hearing restored to their former level.

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