Home' Accord : Accord June 16 Contents Feature 9
• Provide comfortable listening with awareness
• Preserve the pure, beautiful quality of music
This raises the question of how to best meet
different listening goals while staying true to
North’s natural sound. The answer is Sound
Sound Conductor dynamically balances the
appropriate adaptive features to address each
unique listening scenario while maintaining
natural sound quality.
Natural sound and beyond
Delivering natural sound quality is a primary goal of Unitron’s
North platform. While natural sound is very important to patients,
we also need to successfully address their variety of listening goals
in order to achieve long-term acceptance of hearing instruments:
• Help patients understand conversations in noise –
their number one complaint1
• Provide comfortable listening with awareness in noise
• Preserve the pure, beautiful quality of music
This raises the question of how to best meet different listening
goals while staying true to North’s natural sound. The answer
is Sound Conductor.
Sound Conductor dynamically balances the appropriate
adaptive features to address each unique listening scenario
while maintaining natural sound quality.
Comfort with awareness
Natural sound quality
Setting the stage
Unitron has always been strongly committed
to providing speech intelligibility. Although
we had a successful strategy in the past, which
was proven to provide 16% improvement in
speech understanding in noise, this strategy was
designed for a single destination approach to
speech in noise. Sound Conductor takes over this
role on the new North platform, combining the
best of our proven strategy with a philosophy
that breaks speech in noise into different levels
of background noise so patients can focus more
Sound Conductor was developed in parallel with
SoundNav. Before Sound Conductor can make an
impact, the classifier in the SoundNav automatic
program needs to indicate which of the seven
environments best identifies the patient’s current
listening realities. These seven environments are
categorized into three groups based on similarity
of listening goals, and whether target speech
is present or the signal is melodic. SoundNav
sets the stage for Sound Conductor to make
intelligent adjustments to relevant adaptive
features in order to achieve the listening goals
for the conditions in that environment.
When speech is present the listening goal is
understanding conversations, no mat ter what
level or type of background noise is present.
When no speech is present, the listening goal
is comfor t with awareness, ensuring that the
patient is not distracted or annoyed by low-level
or high-level ambient noise.
When the signal is music, the listening goal is
to enjoy its natural quality without the distor tion
that can be caused by an adaptive feature, such
as noise reduction.
The first whitepaper in this series – Classifier
and SoundNav – goes into great detail on how
SoundNav classifies listening into seven distinct
Balancing listening goals
Once SoundNav has laid the classification
groundwork, Sound Conduc tor doesn’t simply
apply industry-standard solutions to address
individual listening challenges. Instead, each
adaptive feature is set to a strength that provides
benefit. Sound Conductor can manage the
different features dynamically, keeping up
with changing listening environments so that
the hearing instrument is always providing the
acoustic response that the wearer needs in
The intelligent precision of the new classifier
on the North platform is the culmination of two
things: experience and advancement.
Works harmoniously – The adaptive features
are optimized so that when they are active, the
setting that is most effective for each of them in a
par ticular listening environment is also optimized
to work harmoniously with the other features.
This not only avoids sound quality artifacts
that can occur when these algorithms are
simultaneously engaged, but also yields a natural
Executes an intelligent strategy – Since Sound
Conductor works within SoundNav, it is operating
from information that the classifier has gathered
about the acoustic environment.
This allows Sound Conductor to know when each
feature should be engaged and the strength at
which it should be applied. It also knows when it
makes sense for a particular feature to be turned
Preserves natural sound quality – The Sound
Conductor strategy meets a patient’s listening
goals without sacrificing the amazing natural
sound quality advancements of the Nor th
How Sound Conductor works
Within each SoundNav environment, Sound
Conductor manages speech enhancement, noise
reduction and directionality.
Speech enhancement is an adaptive feature
that detects when speech is present. It then
increases the amplitude of the speech signal.
Speech enhancement can provide listeners with
clarity but not comfor t.
Noise reduction is an adaptive feature that
detects the parts of the signal that are consistent
with the characteristics of noise. It then decreases
that par t of the signal. Noise reduction can
provide listeners with comfor t but not clarity.
A three-part whitepaper series
Moving to a new technology platform presents hearing
instrument manufacturers with opportunities to make changes
that positively impact patients. The introduction of the powerful
new North platform has enabled Unitron to go above and
beyond helping patients hear speech in noise to really focus
on conversations. It’s not surprising that many other hearing
instrument manufacturers share Unitron’s goal. However, meeting
each patient’s listening goals while still maintaining natural sound
is a significant challenge and not all solutions are up to the task.
Part 1: Classifier and SoundNav
This whitepaper features the SoundNav automatic program.
It is the first in a series of whitepapers designed to explain how
Unitron leverages the combined strength of three technologies
to help patients focus on conversations like never before.
Tina Howard, Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA
Senior Validation Specialist
Favorite sound: wind chimes
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