The findings from the research, which are published in the journal Ear and Hearing, suggests that this software program can increase the frequency range of sounds that individuals living with hearing loss can detect, the Engineer reports.
Hearing loss typically occurs at higher frequencies, but it is the frequencies that are important for distinguishing sounds such as 'sh' and 'ch' and isolating individual speech or louder rooms. Hearing aids split sounds into frequency bands, amplifying quiet sounds within each band and leaving louder sounds, known as multi-channel automatic gain control. This new software allows the hearing aid to tailor multi-channel automatic gain control to the individual's hearing loss, and operate at higher frequencies.
"Until recently, hearing aids only provided amplification for frequencies up to 4-5kHz, whereas a person with normal hearing can hear for frequencies up to 15-20kHz," Professor Brian Moore of the university's Department of Psychology, is reported as saying. "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."
The early trials of the new software have provided positive outcomes for hearing aid users, the study noted.