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Hearing aid compression – what it is and why it matters

Compression is a signal processing technique that makes soft sounds louder while keeping loud sounds at a comfortable level. But what is considered “comfortable”? That depends on the user. 

People have different preferences for compression settings, which can significantly impact their listening experience. With Widex MySound, Widex hearing aid users can now get personalized compression settings tuned to their needs and comfort.

What is hearing aid compression?

Compression is a way of making soft sounds louder while keeping loud sounds at a comfortable volume. This is vital for people with hearing loss, who often have a reduced dynamic range compared to those with normal hearing.

There are two types of compression:

Fast compression quickly adapts to changes in sound, making it easier to hear soft sounds that follow loud sounds, like speech after loud applause. Unfortunately, fast compression can also alter the natural fluctuations of speech, making it harder to understand.

Slow compression preserves the natural fluctuations of speech but may make it harder to hear soft sounds.

The importance of personalized compression in hearing aids

Research has shown that preferences for compression settings differ both depending on the individual and the situation. Personalized compression can improve sound quality and listening comfort and make it easier for users to hear in different situations.

Through MySound, which is available in the Widex Moment app, users can adjust their hearing aids to their specific needs and preferences, to improve their overall experience with their hearing aids.

This graph compares linear and non-linear amplification for a specific hearing loss and hearing aid. The solid line shows the combined effect of the hearing aid's amplified sound and direct transmitted sound for a specific frequency.

Using AI to personalize compression

Personalized compression is made possible with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). The hearing aid's AI engine provides users with a series of A-B comparisons, where they can choose how much they prefer different sound settings, including both gain and compression. Based on these preferences, the AI engine creates personalized compression settings for the user.

Overall, the personalized approach of MySound allows for the best possible listening experience for the individual hearing aid user.

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