Danish hearing aid maker Widex has developed a hearing aid that combines the latest in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning with two ultra-fast signal pathways to create what the company calls the “un-hearing aid, hearing aid.” The WIDEX MOMENT™ has broken new ground by addressing one of the great unsolved challenges in the industry — no matter how good the sound, it still sounds like a hearing aid.
The ‘tinny’ and ‘artificial’ sound of hearing aids — which often prevents their adoption by those with hearing loss — is produced when sound processed in the hearing aid reaches the eardrum a split second later than the sound that travels directly through or around the hearing aid’s ear-tip.
Widex is the first in the industry to eliminate that out of sync sound for patients with mild to moderate hearing loss, without sacrificing the trademark Widex natural sound — which already has the lowest time delay compared to competitors.
According to Lise Henningsen, Global Head of Audiology at Widex, this launch marks a fundamental shift not just for the hearing aid industry, but also for a general consumer public experiencing hearing loss at increasingly young ages.
“To lose your sense of hearing is to lose a fundamental part of senses. We know hearing loss can lead to social isolation, and as a result of this people may experience higher risk of depression and earlier onset of dementia,” says Henningsen. “Though the traditional hearing aid has made tremendous strides in areas such as hearing loss compensation, speech intelligibility, noise reduction, and more, the first encounter with the hearing aid sound is often quite strange and unfamiliar, often leaving people doubtful of the benefits — until today. WIDEX MOMENT is not just another hearing aid that makes sound audible again, it is an innovative new sound platform that offers a sound so natural and pristine you instantly recognize your own voice, the sounds around you, and the voices that matter most to you. We have taken a huge step towards truly restoring hearing, as you remember it before any loss occurred.”
The WIDEX MOMENT platform achieves this perfected hearing experience by leveraging two distinct signal pathways. The ‘classic’ Widex signal pathway is paired with a second ultra-fast signal pathway that adds extra gearing to the platform.
This Widex ZeroDelay™ Accelerator reduces the processing delay between microphone and receiver to below 0.5 milliseconds, enabling the two sound signals to meet at virtually the same time in the eardrum — thereby eliminating the artificial sound quality and creating a more natural sound experience. This new sound experience is called Widex PureSound™.
However, the company notes that although WIDEX MOMENT breaks new ground in the area of sound purity, it doesn’t do so at the expense of other cutting-edge features – such as rechargeability and smart streaming – which offers robust connectivity to the devices one uses every day. According to the company, the hearing aid use the smallest lithium-ion rechargeable RIC on the market, ensuring that no matter one’s lifestyle wearers will never miss a moment.
The hearing aid also comes compatible with the SoundSense Learn smartphone app, which leverages breakthroughs in AI and machine learning to personalize one’s hearing experience and create hearing programs based on a wearer’s typical environments — a daily commute, an open-office floor plan, a favorite restaurant, and more.
The app gathers a variety of anonymous data such as how often the wearer adjusts the volume, which sound presets they most regularly use, and how many custom settings they create. Based on these real-world preferences, a complete personalized listening experience is created for the wearer. These adjustments and custom settings can then also be shared directly and securely with their hearing care professional, which helps the professional tailor their consultation more and improve their service.
“The future of hearing aids will be unlocked through the combination of perfectly natural sound with the latest in streaming, rechargeability, and customization – and that’s exactly what we’ve created with WIDEX MOMENT,” says Henningsen. “We’re breaking down the hearing aid stigma, across all generations, by equipping wearers with a way to experience one’s natural hearing, customized for any environment, while enabling connectivity with all of your favorite apps and devices. It’s a seminal moment for not just our hearing aid industry but for the technology industry, in general.”