Talking Tech and TALA™ with Bennett Griffin, EVP of Research and Development for Lucid Hearing ®
The technological advances that the hearing aid industry has experienced over the last ten years has been evolutionary, and if you find you need a hearing aid, you’re in for an amazing experience. Long gone are the hearing aids that were big and bulky. Now, as evidenced by Lucid Hearing’s products, hearing aids are small, sleek and discreet. Not only has technology enabled Lucid Hearing to produce smaller devices, but it has also allowed the manufacturer to deliver some of the highest quality products on the market today.
We chatted with Bennett Griffin, EVP of Research and Development for Lucid Hearing, to get the scoop on the patented technology Lucid Hearing uses to make its hearing aids sleeker, and more importantly, deliver remarkable clarity and more natural sound. Bennett also reveals details about Lucid Hearing’s recent addition to its over-the-counter (OTC) product line, TALA, and its unique design and functionality.
Understanding the Lucid Hearing Difference
Question 1: Can you give us an overview of Lucid Hearing’s approach to using technology and how it helps you produce hearing aids that deliver such exceptional quality?
Bennett: Most of the industry uses a sound processing technique that's called Wide Dynamic Range Compression or WDRC, which essentially, like the name implies, is taking all the available sound that's in the room and compressing it down into a space that can then be amplified for you to hear. And it's a perfectly fine approach, but some folks say it's more artificial sounding and produces a harsher sound, especially for certain noises, because of the nature of the WDRC algorithm.
We have a different approach that has its roots in the research that was done for the cochlear implant years ago, and we have the only implementation of this on a hearing aid. We bought that technology and then have since advanced it on our own. It uses a different way of processing sound, and that core approach is what we call Powered by Lucid®, which uses our Adaptive Dynamic Range Optimization technique. Essentially, we're not compressing all the available sound the same way [that other manufacturers do]. What we're doing is more like a sliding of a window to give you the most important sounds you need and amplifying them in a way that you can hear them more naturally.
Question 2: So if I understand correctly, other manufacturers take all the sound available in a given space, say a restaurant, and compress it to allow for amplification. But then what you’re hearing is every sound in the room at higher volume, rather than focusing on and hearing that sound that you’re really wanting to hear, like the voice of the person you’re talking to across the table. Is that right?
Bennett: Exactly. We've got the ability to segment rather than compress, which allows you to hear what you want to hear at that given moment. And we’ve got the capacity to divide that sound up into what we call channels, which is kind of like having more pixels on your TV to allow for higher definition. Our devices can offer up to an impressive 128 channels.
Powered by Lucid® and OTC
Question 3: Can you describe how Powered by Lucid® technology impacts the user’s experience?
Bennett: The net result for the consumer is that our devices produce a more natural sound experience. It has less of those artificial harshness tones. It's especially well designed for a speech clarity solution to help understand what is the word that's being said. And hearing enunciation is often one of the biggest challenges that people have with overcoming hearing loss. Our Powered by Lucid process is exceptionally adept at distilling speech from noise, which is again the most common scenario where people really struggle when they're not hearing well. And our core technology and our core acoustic processing approach that we use in our prescription hearing aids is also what we use in our premium over-the-counter, or OTC, hearing aids.
Question 4: Let’s talk about OTC hearing aids. Lucid Hearing has several on the market, including your most recently launched product, TALA. You mentioned your same Powered by Lucid technology used in your prescription line is also used in your OTC products, is that right?
Bennett: Yes. So our core technology and our core acoustic processing approach that we use in our prescription hearing aids and in our premium tier of OTC hearing aids, like Engage and FIO up to now, is also the starting point for TALA. So we're bringing in all of those things that we've learned over 12-plus years in building hearing aids as the starting point for what we've done with the TALA product. And then we've taken all that and continued to advance it in the unique product design that is TALA.
Question 5: In what way is TALA more advanced and unique compared to your other OTC hearing aids?
Bennett: With TALA we’re introducing a new industrial design, and our Precision Directional Listening (PDL™) technology, which the design itself helps make possible. We’ve positioned TALA’s microphones in such a way to optimize the hearing function so that we get the best directional performance. So with this product, we’ve taken all the benefits of our sound processing technology that we’ve baked into our hearing aids and then taken it to the next level with TALA. This product’s directional benefits are especially important when you think about situations where someone with mild to moderate hearing loss is really struggling the most, like in a noisy restaurant or in a meeting, and you're trying to make sure you really understand the words people are saying.
The combination of the super simple ergonomic design of the product – it’s just so easy to place in your ear, and it's comfortable – and also then the benefit of the enhanced directionality on top of our sound processing where we're already really emphasizing speech clarity and distilling speech from noise. We think it's just a really awesome kind of 1-2-3 punch.
Question 6: One last question – where can people purchase TALA?
Bennett: It’s available now, here on Lucid Hearing’s website.