7 SmartSpeech Technology features that improve speech understanding

For 75 years, Phonak has developed innovations that support speech understanding. The collection of features in Audéo Lumity deliver the latest innovations in directional microphone technology to help ensure speech is better understood in many different listening environments.


“Don’t ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts and hearts move limbs.”

– Hamza Yusuf1


This quote is a reminder of the power of words. However, words mean nothing when they are not understood. Speech understanding is key.

As audiologists, we must keep in mind that speech understanding is so much more than speech intelligibility results on clinical tests.

Almost all the activities we enjoy involve speech understanding at some level. A quiet night at home watching your favorite TV program with family; listening to the lyrics of a beloved song; chatting with a friend on a walk through the forest; hearing about your child’s day at school; chatting with loved ones far away on a video call . . . all the things we love to do involve speech understanding.

Phonak has dedicated the last 75 years to developing hearing solutions that support speech understanding in diverse listening environments and reduce listening effort. Here is what sets us apart:

SmartSpeech Technology: Seven game-changing features

Phonak SmartSpeechTM Technology is a collection of features controlled by AutoSense OS™ 5.0, the automatic classification system in Phonak hearing aids.

In this collection, two new features are added: StereoZoom 2.0 and SpeechSensor.

  1. StereoZoom 2.0
    This feature improves focus in noise or spatial awareness depending on the environment. It is a narrow binaural directional microphone mode launched with our new, innovative solution, Phonak AudéoTM Lumity.

    As the level of noise surrounding the client increases, the microphone directionality gradually transitions from Speech in Noise (UltraZoom) to Speech in Loud Noise (StereoZoom 2.0). This provides a balance between providing more spatial awareness and speech focus to the front, depending on the listening environment.

    For speech from front compared to fixed directional, StereoZoom 2.0 has been shown to contribute to 16% better speech understanding.2

    Now StereoZoom 2.0 can be adjusted via the myPhonak app enabling the client to take control of how much focus they would like depending on who they want to listen to in challenging environments.

  2. SpeechSensor
    This automatic feature accurately detects the direction of speech to better understand speech from the side or back in noisy environments.

    Automatically detecting where the dominant speaker is located, SpeechSensor sends this information to AutoSense OS 5.0 to adjust the directional microphone mode accordingly. This results in an average of 15% better speech understanding when speech is from the side/behind.2

  3. Speech Enhancer
    This adaptive feature is designed to enhance the relevant cues of speech and reduce listening effort in quiet situations.

    A recent study3 demonstrated that Speech Enhancer, when activated, is preferred for hearing at a distance in a quiet environment and reduces listening effort of soft speech in quiet.

  4. Motion Sensor Hearing
    This feature uses a 3D motion sensor that detects movement and supports speech understanding in challenging environments when on the move.

    Appleton and Voss compared the experience of a short walk with a conversation partner along a busy street, with and without MSH.4 They found that 73% preferred MSH for speech understanding, 78% for environmental awareness and 71% for overall listening experience.

  5. Dynamic Noise Cancellation
    This spatial noise cancellation system works in combination with directional microphones and has been found to reduce listening effort in noise.3

  6. ActiveVentTM Receiver
    ActiveVent is a mechanically variable vent that can be electronically switched between open and closed states. It combines the hearing performance of a closed fit when in noise with the comfort of an open fit.5

    ActiveVent provides on average 10% better speech understanding in noise than conventional acoustic coupling while providing natural sound in different listening situations.6

  7. RogerTM Technology
    This wireless technology has been scientifically proven to help hearing aid users with moderate to severe hearing losses understand more speech in noise and over distance than with hearing aids alone.7

    Additionally, a later study found improved speech understanding in group conversations in noise, when comparing a Roger system to hearing aids or cochlear implants alone.8

    Using directional microphone technology in combination with Roger technology has also been shown to yield better speech intelligibility results when compared to Roger and omnidirectional microphones.9

Did you know?
Research has shown that Phonak SmartSpeechTM Technology provides reduced listening effort thanks to features such as Speech Enhancer and Dynamic Noise Cancellation,3 plus improved speech understanding in challenging environments thanks to StereoZoom 2.0 and SpeechSensor.2

The next 75 years

The importance of hearing performance and speech understanding encompasses every single aspect of life. Over the next 75 years, we will continue to seek product innovation to support clients with hearing loss and add to our collection of features that focus on improving speech understanding.

To learn more, read the Speech Understanding Insight at phonakpro.com/evidence.

Click here for more product information on Phonak Audéo™ Lumity.


References

  1. Economy, P. (2015). 26 Brilliant Quotes on the Super Power of Words. Retrieved from: https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/26-brilliant-quotes-on-the-super-power-of-words.html, accessed August 23rd, 2022.
  2. Woodward, J. & Latzel, M. (2022). New implementation of directional beamforming configurations show improved speech understanding and reduced listening effort. Phonak Field Study News in preparation. Expected end of 2022.
  3. Appleton, J. (2020). AutoSense OS 4.0 – significantly less listening effort and preferred for speech intelligibility.  Phonak Field Study News. Retrieved from www.phonakpro.com/evidence, accessed August 23, 2022.
  4. Appleton, J., & Voss S.C., (2020). Motion-based beamformer steering leads to better speech understanding and overall listening experience. Phonak Field Study News. Retrieved from ww.phonakpro.com/evidence, accessed August 23, 2022.
  5. Winkler, A., Latzel, M., & Holube, I. (2016). Open Versus Closed Hearing-Aid Fittings: A Literature Review of Both Fitting Approaches. Trends in Hearing, 20, 1-13.
  6. Latzel, M., Mejia, J., Young, T., & Hobi, S. (2022). ActiveVent™ Receiver provides benefit of open and closed acoustics for better speech understanding in noise and naturalness of own voice perception. Phonak Field Study News. Retrieved from www.phonakpro.com/evidence, accessed August 23rd, 2022.
  7. Thibodeau, L. (2014). Comparison of speech recognition with adaptive digital and FM wireless technology by listeners who use hearing aids. American Journal of Audiology, 23(2), 201-210.
  8. Thibodeau L. M. (2020). Benefits in Speech Recognition in Noise with Remote Wireless Microphones in Group Settings. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 31(6), 404–411.
  9. Wagener, K., Vormann, M., Latzel, M., & Mülder, H. (2018). Effect of hearing aid directionality and remote microphone on speech intelligibility in complex listening situations. Trends in Hearing, 22, 1-12.