Posted by & filed under Audiology, Industry News.


Effective Hearing Aids Could Reduce Stress…

Hearing aid manufacturer, Oticon, have unveiled new research suggesting that effective hearing aids could reduce stress by reducing the impact that noise has on stress levels. As part of their ongoing BrainHearing Research, which looks at reducing the listening effort of a person with hearing loss, Oticon are delving deeper than ever before and are working on new ways to determine how changes in sound influence health. Its new hearing research includes a study of heart health. They measured pupil dilation to determine stress caused by sounds and the effort of listening, and studied heart rate both in the lab and the real-world.

Research Results

The lab study discovered that periods of noise, especially when listening to speech, increase stress levels. However, noise reduction from Oticon Opn™ hearing aids delivers quality sound which helps reduce a person’s stress reaction. For the full study, click here.

Oticon were able to also conduct a field study, whereby they observed these effects in a real life setting. By using the Oticon ON app and wearables to measure heart rate, they were able to see how real-world sound exposure affects heart rate and how often a person’s heart rate is increased by sound changes.

Oticon’s initial observations to date include that the sound we live in contributes to approximately 4% of the fluctuation in mean heart rate throughout the day. Most prominently, periods with loud sound increase the heart rate. Access to a better sound quality reduces this stress reaction and lowers the mean heart rate, even when the sound is loud. Based on this data, if hearing technology was used to help reduce the impact of unwanted noisy sound and instead enhance the relevant sounds around us, it would contribute towards maintaining heart health every day. For the full study, click here.

Hearing Aids That Help

The main finding from this research is that effective hearing aids could reduce stress. Oticon More™ hearing aids feature advanced noise reduction working in unison with a deep neural network allowing users to hear ALL relevant sounds. This is a completely new way to support hearing loss. Oticon More™ enables a user to hear more naturally and also ensures sound is ‘comfortable’ to listen to, creating the perfect conditions to help reduce listening effort and stress.

Researcher Comment

“Noise, which essentially is unwanted sound, can be terribly unhealthy”, says Jeppe Høy Christensen, researcher, Eriksholm Research Centre, part of Oticon. “Creating a link between lab studies and user provided research, we can confidently say that by effectively making noise less burdensome by enhancing relevant sounds, through hearing technology we will be able to help improve not only the brain but also the heart health of our hearing aid users. Our research strives to constantly inspire improved hearing aid technology and we are particularly proud to have uncovered such a significant revelation. The consequence could even see manufacturers of other hearing products, such as headphones, employing new technology to benefit their users’ health.”