How Philips HearLink works

Philips HearLink makes use of two key technologies - SoundMap and SoundTie:

SoundMap creates the sound of Philips HearLink. It amplifies voices and makes them clearer in difficult environments by reducing the noise. It also ensures that the sound details are audible.

SoundTie is the technology that connects Philips HearLink to the outside world. It makes activities like watching TV easier and more enjoyable. SoundTie also provides intelligent interaction with smartphones and helps people stay connected with distant friends and family.

SoundMap technology helps people connect to their surroundings

The SoundMap technology in Philips HearLink is made up of three sound processing pillars: effective noise control, advanced amplification and groundbreaking feedback cancellation.

750x400_image_spot_soundmap

SoundMap Noise Control

SoundMap Noise Control gives Philips HearLink users effective support in noisy environments. It attenuates noise and preserves speech clarity. This is achieved through several modules: a speech detector (not shown), a directional system and a noise reduction system that includes a unique twin-microphone noise estimate. 

Based on the input from the two microphones, the directionality system attenuates noises around the user while preserving speech from the front. The noise reduction system further attenuates noise in frequency bands dominated by noise.

In Philips HearLink, these systems work with high spectral resolution and at high speed. Improving on traditional solutions, the noise reduction system uses the twin-microphone noise estimate to estimate noise. This allows SoundMap Noise Control to have a better estimation of the noise level and work efficiently even in noisy environments encountered by Philips HearLink users. As shown below, this combination of speed and accuracy in SoundMap Noise Control enables it to attenuate noise at a pace faster than the speed of speech.

750x400_image_spot_noise_in_speech

SoundMap Noise Control addresses the most important struggle of people with hearing loss – communication in noisy environments. The unique twin-microphone noise detection of Philips HearLink ensures efficient processing, even in challenging noisy situations. For Philips HearLink users, it means it is easier to connect with others such as during family dinners and social gatherings.

SoundMap Amplification

In conventional compression systems, for example Wide Dynamic Range Compression (WDRC), amplification is applied depending on the level of the input signal, but independently of the noise level. This can challenge the usability of speech information in noisy places. In quiet places (see figure below, left panel), where speech is clear, amplification is applied with the compression ratio specified by the fitting rationale. This is to optimize the audibility of the dominant speech as well as other environmental sounds. In noisy places (see figure below, right panel), where the noise level is closer to that of the speech, a high compression ratio can reduce access to speech cues (envelope modulation). 

 
  • Low noise level

    Here the compression ratio is applied as prescribed to provide audibility of the primary speech and other sounds.

  • High noise level

    Here the compression ratio can be temporarily reduced to preserve the usability of speech amplitude modulation cues.

To improve on this limitation, SoundMap Amplification uses an embedded noise level estimator to lower the compression ratio in specific moments and frequency channels. This preserves access to speech cues, and thereby optimizes the access to speech information in noisy conditions.

The integrated noise detection in SoundMap Amplification significantly improves over traditional WDRC, allowing SoundMap Amplification to provide audibility of sound details and better clarity of speech information in noisy environments. For Philips HearLink users, it means optimal access to the voices of surrounding people and details in sound, enabling them to better engage and connect with people around them.

SoundMap Feedback Canceller

Audible feedback, which manifests itself as a typical loud whistling sound, is something no one likes to hear. Yet feedback is a risk in any hearing instrument, due to the proximity of the speaker and the microphones.

SoundMap Feedback Canceller uses a new approach to detect and cancel feedback. It makes Philips HearLink a very stable instrument delivering optimal audiological benefits to the users and gives hearing care professionals more flexibility to fit Philips HearLink.

Good feedback management works like the foundation of a house – you can’t see it, but without it the house won’t stand. Or, in other words, without SoundMap Feedback Canceller, Philips HearLink users won’t get the benefits of SoundMap Amplification and Noise Control.

To ensure its stability, Philips HearLink uses SoundMap Feedback Canceller, which marks a breakthrough in anti-feedback management. While traditional systems can detect feedback, SoundMap is fast enough to detect the early build-up of feedback.

What’s more, on detection of early feedback build-up, SoundMap doesn’t use traditional frequency shift or gain reduction to counteract the feedback. Instead, it uses an innovative new approach: a short breaker signal is applied to stop feedback growth. Thanks to SoundMap Feedback Canceller, the feedback threshold has been raised by 6 dB, making Philips HearLink a very stable hearing instrument. Philips HearLink users will not only experience a very low risk of whistling, but they also get the amplification they need. In addition, SoundMap Feedback Canceller gives hearing care professionals more flexibility to accommodate individual users’ acoustic preferences – for example, more open fitting, resulting in a faster fitting process.

Middle-aged man using his smartphone and his Philips HearLink hearing aids to connect to friends by making a video call.

SoundTie technology connects people to the world

SoundTie uses dual-core 2.4 GHz Bluetooth® Low Energy technology to connect Philips HearLink to virtually every smart device.

  • Connected phone calls

    Philips HearLink are Made for iPhone®, iPod® and iPad® instruments. Users can connect their iPhone calls directly to their hearing instruments or calls from their Android™ phones via the Philips AudioClip.

  • Connected entertainment

    SoundTie also allows Philips HearLink users to stream music, TV and radio directly from their iPad®, iPhone® and iPod®, or from superior sound systems and TVs via the Philips TV Adapter.

  • Connected living

    Philips HearLink can be connected through the “If This Then That” (IFTTT) network to Internet-connected devices and services (i.e. “the Internet of Things”). This represents a whole new range of possibilities about how hearing instruments can fit into users’ lives – for example connecting to home security and lighting and delivering reminders to take medication and warnings when blood pressure rises. The more this connectivity develops, the more it makes users’ lives easier and creates a safer and healthier living environment.

  • Connected control

    The Philips HearLink app gives users the opportunity to easily and discreetly control their hearing instruments directly from their smartphone. The “Find my hearing aids” function helps users locate their instruments when not worn. They can also control the volume, change their listening program, check their battery status and more.

Hearing care professional finding product information on Philips HearLink hearing aids.

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