What is the difference between Lucid Hearing technology and standard hearing aids? A guide to hearing aid technology.
Hearing aids have come a long way. What started as clunky, non-portable instruments have transformed into compact, discreet devices with digitally advanced technology. Among this leading technology is Powered by Lucid™.
Until the 16th century, hearing loss was so misunderstood that many who experienced loss were considered to have other disabilities and were often discriminated against. Public understanding did grow, but advancements in addressing hearing loss were slow going. It was not until the last hundred years that hearing aid technology began to make great strides. We have now entered an age that allows people to customize technology to their specific needs.
A brief history of hearing aids
Hearing assistance instruments were created as early as the 13th century. These items were made using hollowed out animal horns to capture sound, but they were not very effective. During the late 18th century, ear trumpets were invented. These trumpets were bulky and also did not significantly amplify sound. Hearing technology did not take off until the 19th century when electricity and the telephone were invented. Over time, hearing aids became more portable and could actually amplify sounds.
Today, we have technology that can alter and customize sound so that hearing aids are optimized to each listener’s unique hearing experience. At the forefront of modern hearing aid technology is Powered by Lucid™. This revolution started in Melbourne, Australia by research scientist Dr. Peter Blamey who has made important and notable contributions in the field of audiology. The technology, known as Adaptive Dynamic Range Optimization, was initially created for cochlear implants. After repeated success, Lucid Hearing applied the same process to hearing aids, establishing a new era of hearing aid technology.
The Powered by Lucid™ hearing aid technology utilizes Blamey’s research to deliver an elevated level of natural sound quality by optimizing comfortable listening ranges and minimizing distortion. In a study published by the American Journal of Audiology (1), it was found that Lucid’s hearing aid technology was preferred by 75% of listeners. Hearing aids that utilized Powered by Lucid™ amplified words in quiet environments 14% better than conventional hearing aids, and our technology made sentences 7% clearer in noisy environments. This success is thanks to our unique approach to compression.
Hearing aid technology
Hearing aid compression manipulates sound by shifting what you should hear down to the range of what you can hear. Hearing loss will result in diminished sensitivity in some or all frequencies. For example, a patient may have a lower sensitivity to one frequency and require a higher volume to perceive the sound.
Traditional hearing aids use a method of compression known as Wide Dynamic Range Compression, or WDRC. These hearing aids try to compress all sound into a specific volume range that can be heard by the listener. Although this allows the listener to hear most sounds, compression can distort sound and typically reduces clarity. This can be compared to altering an image. If you reduce only the height of an image to fit a specific parameter, the image will appear blurry and inaccurate (Reference Fig. 2).
Fig. 1 – Visual representation of no hearing loss.
Fig. 2 – Visual representation of hearing loss using WDRC technology.
In contrast, Powered by Lucid™ prioritizes conversations and music, the two most important experiences of hearing. Instead of compressing every frequency equally, Powered by Lucid™ compresses the extreme decibel inputs that are inconsequential to hearing. This makes it possible to maintain clarity in frequencies that lie within the speech bubble, or within 30-60 decibels where most speech lies. For example, if you adjust the height of an image by compacting the edges and leaving the middle part untouched, the central focus of the image will still remain clear (Reference Fig. 3).
Powered by Lucid™
Fig. 3 – Visual presentation of hearing loss using Powered by Lucid™ technology.
Another factor that affects the clarity of hearing aids are channels. Channels are used to break down the hearing loss into individual sections. The more channels, or sections, there are, the greater control the technology has over sound quality. This is especially important for background noise. Whereas most traditional hearing aids have between 4 to 24 channels, Lucid’s selection of hearing aids typically has over 120 channels, which makes it much easier to stay engaged in conversations. A hearing aid with more channels is able to identify and reduce the volume of background noise while listening to speech. It is similar to computer pixels. The more pixels there are, the higher the fidelity (Reference Fig. 4).
Fig. 4 – Visual representation of hearing aid with 96+ channels.
Fig. 5 – Visual representation of hearing aid with 24 channels.
Hearing aid technology has made leaps and bounds in the last hundred years. They have evolved from clunky trumpets that could hardly capture sound to small and discreet devices that can filter and amplify sound for an optimized hearing experience. On the brink of this technological revolution is Powered by Lucid™, a hearing aid system that utilizes compression and channel technology in a unique and optimized way. With cutting-edge compression technology and significantly more channels, Lucid hearing aids can help you keep living your best life.
- Higgins P., Searchfield G., Coad G. A Comparison Between the First-Fit Settings of Two Multichannel Digital Signal-Processing Strategies: Music Quality Ratings and Speech-in-Noise Scores (https://pubs.asha.org/doi/10.1044/1059-0889(2011/10-0034)). American Journal of Audiology. 2011; 21(1): 13-21.