By piggybacking an ultra low gain radio transceiver right onto their Trademarked ‘Era’ chip, Uniton Hearing’s recent release of their Quantum Pro series, their twenty channel system communicates between ears and performs in excess of two hundred million operations per second. This allows their system to not only pinpoint different sounds in the environment in relationship to how the listener is facing and where the various sounds are coming from, but also to tell how far these sounds are away from the listener, due to the added triangulation capabilities two ear communications adds.
The results have been nothing short of amazing for this hard of hearing boomer.
Suffering with a high frequency loss that ends up in the sever range at eight thousand hertz, I am at a distinct disadvantage when I get in noisy social venues without my hearing aids. Having worn instruments since first being fit with Starkey CIC’s in ninety-four, I’ve had the unique opportunity to personally experience the evolution of our equipment over the past eighteen years, not only as a dispenser, but as a user of what we were fitting as well.
Honestly, those early years that I wore hearing aids were a mixed bag. Yea, I could hear better, sometimes. Other times, I was totally frustrated when trying to understand conversations of those either right next to me, or even across the table from me whenever their was a lot of conversational noise in the background.
Even with the advent of directional microphones, those early years were a mixed bag. The various strategies that serve to focus the amplification beam, or cone of hearing, as some call it, have evolved from a simple fixed angular cone, when switched to directional mode, up to ReSounds ‘Surround Sound’ system that biases to using the two ears separately, picking a ‘focus ear’ to apply any directionality to their signal, and using the other ear as a ‘monitor ear’ that remains always in omni-directional mode.
Every major hearing aid manufacturer has directional microphone systems at this point. All of these same manufacturers also offer directional systems in different setups, from that simple fixed cone, to whatever their particular take on the best way to process those sounds that they are all now able to separate, as to locational direction from the listener. Some, like the Widex ‘Clear’ fusion monitors, classifies and attenuates up to fifteen different sound sources in real time, for a real clear signal. All of the major manufactures equipment is better than anything we’ve ever experienced in the past.
The quest for that ‘Holy Grail’ of hearing remains instruments that can reliably assist their wearers in understanding the conversation that they want in even the most noisy of environments . The quest has remained the same, and generally rather elusive up until the last few iterations of chips. Over the last five years I’ve noticed equipment getting much better with each new product offering, as each competes with their own particular strategy in this common quest.
As these systems have evolved, so has the whole idea of communications and the chip platforms. With the advent of these piggybacked radio transceivers more and more manufacturers are coordinating the switching, volume and program responses between ears. Some of these strategies obviously work better than others. But, the competition is great for us all, as each engineering and software team looks at the same problem from different perspectives.
What has separated Unitron’s last offering from the pack, is the way their system uses this huge amount of digital information being collected and computational power to not only locate and classify various sound sources, but with their algorithms, that voice, or speech signal that presents not only in front, but close in front, is given more attention than that of other similarly classified speech within the environment.
The results are that the conversation of my dinner guest across the table becomes the voice that seems to ‘appear’ out of the background of other voices in the environment, even when that environment is a very crowded restaurant when all of the signal (what I want to hear) and all the noise are located directly in front of me.
This system overcomes that common problem of loosing the conversation I want to follow when it disappears into that sea of voices that make up what we call the ‘babble’ of the background when everyone is talking all at once.
Even if my back is to the wall, and all the noise is in front of me, the Unitron, Quantum Pro 20 system, helps me like none other I’ve ever worn. The closest conversation that I am facing becomes the one the instruments ‘focus’ on. This helps me immeasurably in understanding the person I want to understand and not what’s going on two or, three tables away.
These instruments are so good, and operate so differently that they are something that is best experienced, in order to understand how important this feature is when in those really difficult environments.
While we do our best to have these instruments in stock for such trials, they are new and not yet in full supply, so with lots of folks trying them if, you’d like to experience a no obligation, live demonstration set, for a trial in the environments you have difficulty in, please just give us a call, and we’ll do our best to have a pair on hand for you to try when you come in.
As always, any trial, of any equipment we handle is free of charge, provided we have no, ‘custom’ component such as a mold, or custom shell involved. So if you’d like to try a set of Unitron’s Quantum Pro 20 channel system, just give us a call and we’ll be happy to set you up with these, or any of the other fine instruments we carry from any other manufacturer.
However, this system is definitely a very welcome evolution on that ongoing quest for the Holy Grail of hearing, and understanding the conversation we want, when inside a noisy party, restaurant, or meeting. Unitron’s Quantum 20 Pro, is well named, it’s professional quality at every level.
For a trial fitting, questions, or just to chat, give us a call at 321-722-2894, you'll be glad you did.