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Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2013 Wireless connections for hearing aids Dr. Marcel Vlaming, Technical Coordinator European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers.

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Presentation on theme: "Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2013 Wireless connections for hearing aids Dr. Marcel Vlaming, Technical Coordinator European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers."— Presentation transcript:

1 Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2013 Wireless connections for hearing aids Dr. Marcel Vlaming, Technical Coordinator European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) ITU Workshop on “Making Media Accessible to all: The options and the economics” (Geneva, Switzerland, 24 (p.m.) – 25 October 2013)

2 Topics of presentation Hearing loss and hearing aids Hearing aid connectivity: Today Hearing aid connectivity Today Requirements for near future wireless Market drivers Scenario/Roadmap Summary 2

3 Prevalence of hearing loss / use of hearing aids Hearing impairment is loss of auditive communication: Soft sounds not audible High frequency sounds not audible High sensitivity to background noises reducing speech understanding About 10% of population have hearing problems Demographic with age 15-40% of people with hearing loss in developed countries have hearing aids 1) depending on prosperity and funding schemes about 50 million hearing aid users world-wide 3 1) Eurotrak:

4 What h earing aids do Main hearing aid functions: Amplification Soft sounds; Sound compression for restoring loudness of sounds (soft, normal, loud) Spectral compensation In relation to audiogram: upto 8 kHz (in future up to 12 kHz) Suppression of background noise Speech enhancement Direct connectivity to media sources: cable, T-coil, FM, infra-red, hubs, ….. Offered as needed……. 4

5 Types of hearing aids 5

6 Hearing aid connectivity Direct connectivity to audio source Avoids interference from background noises Hearing impaired persons are extra vulnerable to noise Older people are extra vulnerable to loss of attention and concentration Use cases: Private: Phone, TV, Audio, Tablet/PC, ….. Education: schools Public: theatres, churches, points of sale ………….. Public announcements: stations, airports, public events, etc Solutions T-coil, FM, media gateways Future technologies: wireless 6

7 Hearing aid connectivity: Today - 1 7 Magnetic induction loop (T-coil) Pros Exists since hearing aids are available Promoted in some countries Mostly found at: churches and points of sales Sometimes also used at home for TV and audio Hearing Aid Compliance for mobile phones to implement magentic coil (USA: FCC) Cons Magnetic interferences from electrical devices Limited sound quality (BW < 3500 Hz, mono) High installation costs in buildings Limited range (inside loop only) Limited availability: some countries, some places,…..

8 Hearing aid connectivity: Today - 2 FM systems (Assisting Listening Devices, ALDs): Pros Mostly found at schools (professional equipment) Also used at homes: TV and wireless microphone Cons No worldwide frequencies (will not work in other countries) Radio interferences (limited # channels, no hopping, etc.) FM transmitters not found at public places Therefore: low acceptance 8

9 Hearing aid connectivity: Today - 3 Wireless media gateways: Hub to connect with phone through Bluetooth Acts as a bridge of HA radio system to Bluetooth radio Pros Good quality sound Bluetooth gives standard connectivity to mobile phones and other sound devices Cons Must be worn around neck or at body Interferences on Bluetooth link possible 2.4 GHz ISM band: WiFi, other Bluetooth devices, other devices No public access defined so far Short range (5-15 m) No universal standard agreed for bridge HA radio system (inductive radios) Is a temporary solution 9

10 Wireless media gateway Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2013 10

11 Problems for hearing aid connectivity Todays pitfalls T-coil systems have limited quality, very limited range, limited availability, high installation costs FM systems have no worldwide fequencies, have problems on radio interference. Hub based systems with Bluetooth need extra body device and have limited range. Is a temporary solution. Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2013 11

12 Requirements future wireless connectivity for hearing aids Need to be integrated in HAs, no extra body device High demands on hearing aid battery and size Can be used worldwide Worldwide spectrum for global use required Have no or low radio interference Low in/out band interferences Can be used personally, at home, at schools, at public places (church, theatre, station, shops,..) Range: 1 m to 50 m. Good acceptance: Worldwide standard, worldwide spectrum easy installation, easy use, low costs. Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2013 12

13 Market Drivers Increasing legislation requires accessibility for hearing aids: mobile phone: need to find an alternative to T-Coil in mobile phones for cost and size reasons public places: Churches, theatres, points of sale, …… What about: stations, airports……. Growing number of potential users, because of: Aging population Increased expectations Increased spending power Greater familiarity with technology Increasing percentage of population requiring integration with their existing mobile and music technology Desire from many sectors not to disadvantage the hearing impaired Because of social concerns Because of market opportunity 13

14 Scenario / Roadmap WhatHowProsThreadsWhen Available spectrum 2.4 GHz ISM (5.6 GHz not suitable?) available congestion interference out band interf. 2014 New worldwide spectrum ITU, CEPT, WRC-2018 low interference protection for accessibilty use out band interf. slow process many stakeholders 2018- 2020 One Standard worldwide Bluetooth like proprietary Enables public wireless slow waits spectrum 2018 Legislation on Accessibility USA: HAC (FCC) EU: directives creates awareness and demand harmonization of technology costs timing may block innovations Now - 2018 Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2013 14

15 Summary Fifty million hearing aid users Need for wireless connectivity For speech understanding without background noise Domestic, Public places, Schools, Entertainment (music), … Currently different technologies T-coil, FM-systems, multi-media hubs Issues: quality, interference, costs, size in hearing aid Availability: From domestic to (all) public places Required: Worldwide availability: one standard Worldwide radio spectrum: ITU/CEPT/FCC/WWRC Very small size: chips, antenna, battery: technology Reducing costs: installation, hearing aids (chip integration) Geneva, Switzerland, 24 October 2013 15

16 Questions? 16

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