Talking about Roger™ – Part 1

Audiologist, Min Roh explains the What, Why and Where of Roger™ technology, offering insights into its functionality, advantages, and clinical applications.

For audiologists who aren’t familiar with Roger technology, or find it difficult to discuss, we are launching a series to help you explain to your clients the additional benefits a Roger system offers beyond hearing aids alone. In this blog post, we’ll cover the What, Why, and Where of Roger.

‘What’ is Roger?

In its simplest form, Roger is a remote microphone system. Its purpose is to bring the microphone closer to the sound signal, thereby overcoming the effects of distance.

While any microphone can help overcome distance, when the noise gets too loud more advanced signal processing is required to ensure an optimal signal-to-noise ratio is maintained. This is achieved by Roger, thanks to its directional microphones to focus on the speech, as well as its adaptive gain control, which estimates the ambient noise and dynamically changes its own gain in response to it.

Therefore, we can say Roger is a microphone system designed to overcome challenging listening situations involving both noise and/or distance.

Roger technology helps reduce third-party disability. Significant others report improvements in their quality of life, personal communication, and family situation, with less frustration or the need to raise their voice when communicating, thanks to wireless microphone systems like Roger.1

‘Why’ Roger and not just hearing aids?

Did you know nearly one-third of hearing aid users still struggle with hearing conversations in noise?2 We know hearing aids can provide lots of benefit in a variety of listening situations, but we also need to be cognizant of the limitations of current hearing aid technology.

Hearing aids are designed to provide the most benefit when the signal is close. While we could make the microphones more sensitive to pick up sounds from very far away, you wouldn’t want the hearing aids to be so sensitive that they pick up conversations from 10 meters away all the time. Thus this ‘near field’ range of hearing aids allows them to hear what is intended and exclude sounds coming from beyond this range.

When noise is introduced to the listening environment, hearing aids use sophisticated technology and noise reduction features to enhance the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). However, the quality of the output depends on the quality of the input; a signal polluted by noise would result in a lower quality output.  Therefore, these technologies are most effective in the near field, with their effectiveness diminishing as the signal moves further away.

With Roger, because the microphone is physically closer to the source of the signal, better raw audio data can be captured for better audio processing and a cleaner signal overall, much more than what current digital signal processing in hearing aids can do today. Thanks to Roger’s adaptive gain behavior, the signal is increased to consistently stay above the noise.

What’s important to remember is that Roger doesn’t replace the use case of a hearing aid; it simply expands and adds to its use case beyond the near field and in very noisy situations.

The evidence is clear, Roger works! It’s one of the most scientifically validated microphones in the hearing aid industry, boasting amazing benefits that stand the test of time:

  • 61% improvement in speech understanding in a group conversation compared to hearing aids alone3
  • Up to 62% more understanding of speech in noise and over distance wearing hearing aids with Roger, compared to people without hearing loss4
  • Speech intelligibility improved from 27% to 81% using a Roger in background noise compared to using hearing aids alone5
  • Roger improved speech recognition scores in the presence of substantial background noise by up to 65% more words, compared to hearing aids alone6

*A Roger system consists of a Roger microphone and a Roger receiver associated with a compatible hearing device.

‘Where’ can you use Roger?

There are many use cases for Roger microphones thanks to the variety of microphone modes available on the system, most of which are automatically toggled.

Next time, we’ll talk about the Who, When and How of Roger, so stay tuned!

To learn about the dynamic connection between remote microphones, e-bikes, and your lifestyle, be sure to read Min Roh’s recent article, ‘Roger™ and e-bikes: What is the link?


References

  1. Scarinci N, Nickbakht M, Timmer B., Ekberg K, Cheng B and Hickson L. (2022). A qualitative investigation of clients, significant others, and clinicians’ experiences of using wireless microphone systems to manage hearing impairment. Audiology Research, 12 (6), 596-619. doi: 10.3390/audiolres12060059
  2. Picou EM. (2020). MarkeTrak 10 (MT10) Survey Results Demonstrate High Satisfaction with and Benefits from Hearing Aids. Seminars in Hearing, 41(01), 021– 036.
  3. Thibodeau LM. (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. https://doi.org/10.3766/jaaa.19060.
  4. 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
  5. Lejon A, & Smith C. (2020). Speech improvement using Roger NeckLoop with different brands of hearing aids. Phonak Field Study News. Retrieved from www.phonak.com/evidence
  6. Zanin J, Vaisberg J, Swann S, & Rance G. (2024). Evaluating benefits of remote microphone technology for adults with hearing loss using behavioural and predictive metrics. International Journal of Audiology, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1080/14992027.2024.2354500

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