Google+ Mommy Moments with Abby: Miracle Ear

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Miracle Ear

You may have seen the television and magazine ads for a tiny device that fits inside the ear and helps you hear better, but what exactly is Miracle Ear and how does it work? Miracle ear is a digital hearing aid that is currently manufactured by M-E Manufacturing and Services, Inc., which is a division of Seimens Medical Solutions. The was originally created by Dalhberg, Inc around 1948, and though the company has changed hands several times, the product remains essentially the same. Under the directorship of MEMSI, the company no longer manufactures the product; it is a supplier selling a re-branded line of Seimens' hearing aids and other devices. The company is is registered with the BBB, and currently has an A+ rating with that organization. The company offers customers a thirty-day satisfaction guarantee, a three-year warranty and life-time care package, which includes free hearing aid checks and cleanings. 

One of the main benefits of Miracle Ear is convenience. There are hundreds of dispensaries that are conveniently located, and they offer their customers free audio-metric hearing tests. Keep in mind that these tests are not conducted by audiologists, but by representatives of the company. That's not to say that the product doesn't work exactly as advertised, but before purchasing any medical aid, it's a good idea to be completely evaluated by a qualified specialist.

Digital hearing aids are an evolving technology, and there are several possible benefits to this technology over analogue models. Some of these benefits include:

1. Digital Feedback Reduction- DFR is a process by which the device monitors sounds for feedback and then uses a built-in filtering system to diminish it. This is especially useful when the wearer is in close proximity to a source that emits periodic feedback. 

2. Digital Noise Reduction- DNR is a little different from gain processing in that it works to suppress low-frequency sounds and any background noise that results from a steady signal. Some tests indicate that this technology can even help to improve speech recognition in some cases, especially in conjunction with directional microphones.

3. Digital Speech Enhancement- DSE has been shown to increase intensity of speech in some circumstances. The latest technology of DSE can identify and enhance speech both temporally and spectrally, though its use in hearing aids is relatively new and there's only anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness in this area.

4. Gain processing- This let's you hear the sounds you want to hear while suppressing the type of high-intensity sounds that can cause discomfort. It available with both analogue and digital hearing devices, but the superior compression capabilities of digital hearing aids increase this ability.

Another technology that's promising is the use of hearing aids as signal generators. The best application for this so far is in using hearing aid-generated signals to perform loudness growth and threshold tests in order to better fit hearing aids to a specific patient's ear canal. Once the hearing aid is placed, the signal is also used to record sound levels.

The Miracle-ear Twitter account provides consumers with a lot of product information, as well as good advice about dealing with hearing loss and interesting hearing-related Tweets. It's also a good source for company news and information regarding new products and customer incentives.

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