An Acoustician’s Journey into Hearing Aids
AbstractHearing aids are a topic that touches upon a combination of disciplines to help us to hear better. One of the best centres for hearing aid progress is in Southampton at the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research (ISVR), and it has a long history of acoustical developments across a variety of disciplines. I was prescribed a pair hearing aids by an ISVR graduate and I am lucky for it. An acoustician should never be seen wearing hearing aids – that’s the popular thinking. Artists and architects may wear glasses but acousticians cannot be seen wearing hearing aids. I shall never regret the decision to move into hearing aids and I am proud to show them off. Hearing aids create a better life. Not just for adults but, much more importantly, for children who are just starting school. There is something called neuro-plasticity. The brain is a bit like a muscle and if parts of it are not exercised they fade away. Neuro-plasticity is the greatest in the younger years. And this is where hearing aids can help out, as can audiologists – as, indeed, they already have. But beyond audiology, this paper will try to present the importance of sound in a large auditorium, which the author is familiar with, and its interaction with hearing aids. It will also encourage an area where we seldom work: day care centres and elementary schools - where children are living in their most critical time to learn speech and language.
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