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Signia Introduces World’s First ‘Face Mask Mode’ for Hearing Devices: Improves Audibility for Those Communicating with Someone Wearing a Face Covering & No More Lip Reading

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December 2, 2020

Signia reminds us that beyond the threat to public health, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged nearly all aspects of our lives, including one of the most basic – how we communicate.

That’s why hearing aid innovation leader Signia is pleased to debut the world’s first setting for a hearing device which specifically improves audibility for those communicating with someone wearing a face covering. Built within the company’s proprietary app, Signia’s Face Mask Mode is the most complete solution on the market, requiring no in-person adjustments with a hearing care professional.

An Evolutionary Leap Forward in Hearing Technology

“The hearing challenges presented by face masks became obvious pretty quickly into the pandemic, so Signia developed the first-of-its-kind Face Mask Mode to help those with hearing loss better communicate in this new reality,” said Tish Ramirez, Au.D. of Signia. “When this setting is activated, the hearing aids optimally capture the sound of the speech signals, enabling the words to sound clearer and reducing any background noise to help the wearer understand what is being said.”

Designed to Address the Specific Challenges Posed By Face Coverings

Signia’s Face Mask Mode not only adjusts the frequencies that are important for hearing speech, but also applies adjustments to Signia’s Dynamic SoundScape processing, which delivers natural sound and better speech understanding in every situation, even when moving.

“With a tap of a button within the Signia app, users can better understand speech through face masks,” says Dr. Ramirez. “It additionally allows hearing care professionals to offer a one-of-a-kind feature to their patients that will help result in improved speech understanding through face masks, all through this time-saving and convenient solution.”

No More Lip Reading

While face masks are good for safeguarding health, they can be bad for hearing – whether or not you have hearing loss. In fact, social distancing and the use of face masks make it difficult to hear other speakers – by about 30%, according to studies by Signia of people with normal hearing.

But if you’re one of the 48 million Americans with hearing loss, understanding people when they’re wearing masks can be nearly impossible.[1] And it’s not just about muffled voices – masks obscure the ability to read lips and facial cues, while social distancing means you can’t get closer to hear better.

[1] Alexander Goldin, PhD,  Barbara E. Weinstein, PhD.

Eric Branda, PhD. AuD, Director of Research Audiology for Signia, recently published a study on the effects of facemasks on those with hearing loss.[1] Here, he shares some strategies that can help communication at this time, if you live or work with someone with hearing loss.

These include:

    • Facing the person you’re talking to
    • Using approved clear face shields to allow the other person to read lips and facial cues
    • Rephrasing speech rather than repeating the same words or shouting
    • Writing down information to minimize communication errors

Technology for the Hear and Now

Signia has introduced another key technology to address the very specific challenges posed by the current COVID-19 crisis, making it the right device at the right time.

Remote Care is a breakthrough remote hearing care program enabling hearing care professionals to fit and fine-tune hearing aids remotely. Remote Care combines Signia Telecare – an industry-leading tele-audiology solution – and a new AI-based virtual assistant for complete remote service and support, along with enhanced ordering and delivery options.

Medical Device News Magazine
Medical Device News Magazine is a division of PTM Healthcare Marketing, Inc. Pauline T. Mayer is the managing editor.

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