Introduction

In recent years, we have seen a variety of new hearing aids on the market with different wireless communication abilities. Some offer the possibility of transmitting sound to the hearing aid from a mobile phone, a TV, or an MP3 player. Others hearing aids are capable of exchanging coordination data, and a small number are able to transmit sound to one another.

We believe that the key to new achievements in the hearing aid industry lies in the ability to use a sophisticated wireless transmission technology which will facilitate the coordination of dynamic settings between two hearing aids, high quality transmission of audio from external sound sources, and wireless transmission of data between two hearing aids.

We are convinced that wireless technology is the future in the hearing aid industry. However, the success of any given wireless transmission technology will depend on at least three key issues when applied to hearing aids: Sound quality, transmission robustness, and power consumption.

WidexLink is our new proprietary digital radio frequency transmission technology. The new technology has been designed to provide the highest audio quality and efficiency. WidexLink offers new possibilities for extended bandwidth audio transmission between hearing aids (for example, CROS and BiCROS applications),extended bandwidth audio streaming from external assistive listening devices (for example, DEX devices) to hearing aids, and the continuous exchange of synchronization data between hearing aids and external devices (Inter-ear communication).

The unique, digital wireless link offers an unparalleled low latency (delay) of <10 ms when transmitting audio. This ensures minimum distortion and echo-free audio quality when direct acoustic sound in the room is mixed with transmitted sound.

The need for New Technology

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Today, Bluetooth is probably the most popular wireless technology for transferring data and digital sound between devices. The Bluetooth technology is available in a large variety of “plug-and-play” chip solutions. From an engineering point of view, therefore, Bluetooth is the fastest way to a digital wireless design. However, Bluetooth has some drawbacks which create serious problems in hearing aid applications.

First and foremost, Bluetooth is an extremely energy-demanding technology. The Bluetooth chip uses so much power that it has no practical application in the hearing aid industry. Moreover, even if another chip is used, battery drainage is still very high during Bluetooth transmission. Hearing aid manufacturers are therefore forced to find ways to optimise Bluetooth transmission if the power consumption is to be kept at a reasonable level.

Another serious drawback is that standard Bluetooth has a high built-in latency (delay) of 150 ms when transferring audio through the Bluetooth codec. That is, transmitted sound will reach the ear 150 ms later than the direct acoustic sound in the room. In hearing aid applications, this is a serious issue because the time delay between sound sources comprises important psychoacoustic cues about direction and distance to sound sources. The latency can be reduced by switching off some of the technological features while transferring digital audio, but there is a limit to how far this optimisation can be forced. As far as is known, the Bluetooth latency can be reduced no further than approximately 45 ms which is not sufficient to avoid artefacts in hearing aid applications.

Latencies and artefacts

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A small delay of 1 to 10 milliseconds is unproblematic. However, when the delay between transmitted and direct sound becomes longer than 10 milliseconds, artefacts begin to occur. The first artefact to occur will be an audible comb-filter effect. It is called “comb-filter effect” because it filters away frequencies like a comb, making notches in the spectrum. The resulting sound will be hollow and metallic. Above 40 milliseconds the streamed sound will be perceived as an echo of the direct sounds. An additional problem can occur when sound is transmitted from for example a TV. When the delay reaches around 150 milliseconds, which is the default delay with Bluetooth, lip movements will begin to appear unsynchronised with the sound. Thus, hearing aid manufacturers who rely on Bluetooth or another technology which introduces a delay above 10 ms will not be able to avoid artefacts in their applications. Also included on the list of Bluetooth drawbacks are the relatively large chip size and the high current consumption which are obviously essential parameters in a hearing aid design.

Figure1: Psycho-acoustic artefacts due to latency (delay) between direct sound and transmitted sound.

Advantages of WidexLink

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It is no simple matter to design a system which can simultaneously maintain high audio quality, low battery drain, and robustness against transmission errors. Widex achieved these goals by developing a very efficient audio coding method which is custom-designed for use in a hearing aid platform.

It was considered of the utmost importance that the highest possible audio quality should be maintained with the new wireless technology. In order to achieve this goal, several key components of the wireless system were carefully designed. First, a very efficient and robust audio codec (short for encoding/decoding) and radio frequency (RF) transmission system were developed to ensure fast, stable, and trouble-free transmission of sound and data during normal use. It was a requirement that the digital audio codec be based on a coding principle which will ensure that the signal is perceived to be as close to the original sound as possible. Another factor in maintaining a high audio quality was a low audio delay over the wireless transmission system. To achieve this, the digital coding system was designed in such a way that no data would need to be re-transmitted and consequently slow down the transfer of the audio signal as a result.

Ensuring battery efficiency was also a major concern in the design of WidexLink. This goal was achieved through the employment of a very efficient data compression method, and the invention of a new, highly sensitive radio receiver which permits low transmission power.

Robustness was achieved in multiple ways. In addition to the inherent robustness of the audio codec and the radio receiver mentioned above, robustness was also attained by means of a highly efficient channel coding which detects and handles errors quickly and securely.

How WidexLink addresses the key factors will be discussed in more detail below.

High sound quality
Audio bandwidth 4

Audio bandwidth is one of the key factors in maintaining a high sound quality. Thanks to the new technology in the Clear product range, we are able to offer an exceptionally broad audio bandwidth in models with a Clearband receiver, stretching from 100 Hz to 11.2 kHz for transmitted sound. This is industry leading. One area where a broad audio bandwidth makes a clear difference for hearing aid users is when they listen to music. The high frequencies provide ambience and brilliance to the sound. Thus, the sound experience will be somewhat richer with an upper bandwidth of 11 kHz when listening to the crispy sound of a hi-hat or cymbals, for instance. Similarly, an audio bandwidth stretching as far down as 100 Hz will produce a fuller bass.

Codec Another way to maintain a high sound quality is to develop an efficient codec. Digital audio data as we know them from CDs are extremely bulky. It is therefore necessary to reduce digital audio data in some way as the transmission bandwidth is too narrow to effectively transmit the raw audio signal. This is achieved by means of data compression (not to be confused with the dynamic compression of the audio signal in the hearing aid).

Digital audio data compression is achieved by means of a set of complex algorithms called an audio codec. An audio codec consists of two parts: encoding and decoding. The purpose of the audio encoding is to reduce the size of the digital data representing the original signal. The purpose of the decoding is to reconstruct the encoded audio signal in a manner which ensures that it is as close as possible to the original audio signal. This process is analogous to the shipping of a parcel by mail. If you wished to send an office desk from the U.S. to Europe, you could simply place the assembled desk inside a large box and send it. This shipping method would be quite expensive, though, due to the size of the parcel. A more efficient and less expensive method of shipping the desk would be to disassemble the desk into smaller pieces and package it in a much smaller box. The same principle applies to the transmission of digital audio. The cost of sending digital audio is related to its size. The larger the size of the digital audio data, the larger the transmission bandwidth has to be.

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Two different compression techniques are typically used in order to squeeze the audio information into a smaller package. Both compression techniques rely on the fact that audio signals have a great amount of redundancy.

One commonly used technique is Redundancy Coding. This technique is similar to the process used when computers compress files into ZIP files. This type of compression can be demonstrated by a simple example:

If we need to send the number 1000000, we may compress it to 106. The compressed number represents the same digits as the original number, but comprises fewer characters. If each character requires four bits, the uncompressed number would require 28 bits (4 bits x 7 characters), while the compressed number would require 12 bits (4 bits x 3 characters). The technique is effective with data where there is lots of redundant information as is the case with digital audio signals. However, the technique has one major drawback; namely that it is relatively time-consuming. It is therefore not very suitable for hearing aid applications where a minimal delay is of the utmost importance.

Another commonly used technique for achieving a low bit rate is Irrelevance Coding. It is widely used today to create MP3 and other types of digital audio files. Widex also uses this technique for analyzing and compressing audio data in a special part of the codec. .

It is well-known that raw, uncompressed audio contains more information than the human ear can actually detect. Our irrelevance coding algorithm removes all perceptual redundancies by extracting all of the irrelevant audio information which cannot be heard by the listener due to psychoacoustic masking effects in the cochlea. In other words, the irrelevance coding algorithm uses knowledge of masking to remove audio signal elements which are outside the limits of the human auditory system.

Irrelevance coding relies on a phenomenon known as the Simultaneous Masking Effect. When listening to a soft and a loud sound simultaneously, it is often difficult to hear the soft sound because it is drowned by the loud sound. The masking effect is largest when

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the soft sound is in the same frequency range as the soft sound (Moore, 2006: 66). This psychoacoustic phenomenon is very useful vis-à-vis audio data compression. The irrelevance algorithm utilizes knowledge of this psychoacoustic effect to remove softer, less dominant sounds which will be masked by louder, more dominant sounds, from the audio signal.

Basically, our irrelevance algorithm reduces the amount of audio data that needs to be transmitted wirelessly by removing sounds which would not be audible to the listener in any case. And by removing sounds in the audio signal which the listener cannot hear anyway, while preserving the sounds the user can hear, the audio signal can be reduced significantly in size without compromising the high sound quality.

Safe digital transmission
Channel coding An important aspect to consider when sending any type of digital data over a wireless connection is the potential for errors induced by radio frequency interference. Errors will occur from time to time with any kind of transmission and especially in wireless transmission. The distance between the devices may change, the orientation of the antenna in the controller might be altered, or interference from radio noise might disturb the connection. Such errors must be handled effectively to minimize the inconvenience caused to the hearing aid user in the shape of crackling, dropouts in the sound, etc. Therefore, in order to prepare the audio data for transmission and ensure the integrity of the transmission with respect to correct receiver as well as the quality of transmitted data, channel coding is introduced.

Error detection and handling

The main task of the channel coding algorithm is to provide a method for ensuring that the digital audio signal which is received is indeed correct and error free. A common

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and very basic way to do this is to calculate what is called a checksum on the basis of the compressed data. The checksum is enclosed in the shipment alongside the data. When the data are received at the other end, a comparison of the checksum and the data is conducted to determine if any errors have been introduced into the digital audio signal.

However, a checksum will only establish whether or not an error has occurred. It does not provide a solution to how errors should be handled. A major advantage of Widex’ channel coding algorithm is that, thanks to a so-called error corrective code, it ensures that a restricted number of errors can be both detected and corrected.

In a Bluetooth transmission technology, for example, the channel coding will by default ask for a retransmission of data which did not pass the receiver’s error checking algorithm. Since retransmission requests will cause an extra delay whenever the system has to wait for the repetitions of the data to arrive, such a method is not a very good choice in a hearing aid application.

Another method involves the removal of audio data packages which contain errors. This method is for instance used in connection with DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting). DAB-receivers cannot request a retransmission of signals vitiated by errors. Errors in audio data are simply handled by making dropouts in the sound, resulting in there being no sound playback when errors occur. An error handling method which results in clicks or dropouts in the sound is obviously not very suitable for a hearing aid application either.

Widex rely on a special channel-coding technique which is based on the principle of Graceful Degradation. This technique has none of the unfortunate by-products (long delay and dropouts) mentioned above. Instead, it provides a smooth, seamless listening experience for the hearing aid user.

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Figure2: Widex’s channel coding algorithm can both detect and handle errors.

Widex’s channel coding algorithm has been designed to ensure that a small number of transmission errors can be corrected by the algorithm itself. A larger number of errors will be handled by means of the above-mentioned Graceful Degradation-based technique. This technique ensures that a large number of errors will not result in any abrupt changes in the output signal, such as dropout or cracking, heard by the hearing aid user. If the errors are too numerous for the algorithm to be able to correct them, the result will be a gradual fading of the sound. While transmission is interrupted, the HA will switch to the Master program. When the quality of the transmission channel is good enough to allow audio transmission once more, the sound will gradually fade in again to provide a nice, smooth listening experience for the hearing aid user.

Digital Audio Transmission by WidexLink

The WidexLink technology makes it possible to minimise the amount of data that needs to be transmitted in order to ensure a high quality output signal. This is essentially possible thanks to the identical audio generators in the encoder and the decoder. More

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specifically, because the WidexLink encoder and decoder both contain identical synthetic audio generators, it is not necessary to transmit the original signal, or even the synthetic signal. All that needs to be transmitted is information about the discrepancy between the original sound signal and the synthetically generated signal. A more detailed discussion is included in the sections below.

The WidexLink encoding procedure can be divided into five main stages. In the first stage, the original audio signal is compared with a synthetic signal generated by a Synthetic Audio Generator. A Discrepancy Analyser generates information about how close the synthetic sound is to the original. A perceptual model is then applied to determine if discrepancies are audible or not (irrelevance coding). To keep the amount of data to a minimum, only audible discrepancies are allowed to influence the sound generation process. Next, the best approximation to the discrepancy between the original sound and the synthetic signal is retrieved from a large number of synthetic sounds stored in a Sound Sample Archive. And finally, information about which sample is the best approximation to the discrepancy between original and synthetic signal is transmitted to the decoder.

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Figure3: The WidexLink encoder principle.

With WidexLink, the sampling rate is 25.44 kHz, which means that the above procedure is repeated 25,440 times for each second of sound. This enables us to exploit the fact that there is typically not very much variation from one sound sample to the next to generate an increasingly accurate synthetic representation of the original signal.

The first time a discrepancy analysis has been conducted, information about the best approximation is used to create a Sound Model with information about the discrepancy between original and synthetic sound. This knowledge about the discrepancy between synthetic and original sound contained in the model is permitted to influence the generation of the next synthetic sound, whereby the difference between the new synthetic sound and the original sound sample can be reduced. By updating the model every time a sample has been processed by the encoder, the system is able to reduce the difference between original and synthetic signal to a minimum very quickly. The decoder in the hearing aid contains an exact replica of the synthetic audio generator module in the encoder. Thus, information about the discrepancy-based best approximation is sufficient to provide all the necessary information for the synthetic audio generator in the hearing aid to be able to generate an exact copy of the synthetic signal in the encoder. In other words, the output signal generated by the hearing aid is a 100% synthetic sound identical to the synthetic sound generated in the encoder. The decoding sequence is presented schematically below.

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Figure4: The WidexLink decoder principle.

Transmission Robustness
A new, highly accurate and robust receiver has been developed for the Widex Clear product range to ensure safe transmission and low battery drainage. The accuracy of this new, patent-pending receiver enables us to operate with a low transmission power, which in turn contributes towards extending battery life. Moreover, the modulation technique employed to send digital data over the wireless system also contributes to maintain a high degree of robustness.

When sending digital data over a wireless system, a modulation scheme must be used. Modulation essentially determines how the digital information is sent through the radio 12

frequency spectrum. One very commonly used digital modulation technique is Frequency Shift Keying(FSK). In an FSK modulation system, two frequencies are used to represent a binary “0″ or a binary “1″, respectively (see figure 5 below). So once the audio has been digitized, i.e., turned into a series of 0s and 1s, it can be transmitted by means of two different transmission frequencies which represent either a 0 or a 1. The receiver has to detect which of these two frequencies is being transmitted in order to determine if the transmitter is sending a 0 or a 1. The receiver then demodulates the signal by interpreting the frequencies received as either a 0 or a 1.

Figure5: Illustration of the Frequency Shift Keying principle. In an FSK modulation system, two frequencies represent a binary “0″ or a binary “1″, respectively.

Traditional methods of wireless demodulation employ a simple two point sampling of the received wireless signal. This means that, in effect, the receiver relies on only two measuring points when it has to determine if the received signal is a “1″ or a “0″. Figure 6 below contains a model of the demodulation of a signal without noise.

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Figure6: Model of the demodulation of a signal without noise. Traditional methods of wireless modulation employ two points of sampling. In the example, the sample points indicate a rise. The signal will therefore be interpreted as a 1.

The demodulation method described above works very well with a clear signal and no noise. However, as illustrated in figure 7 below, using only two sampling points to determine if the transmitted signal is a 1 or a 0 can result in mistakes if noise is also present in the signal. Signals can be wrongly identified when noise is present in the signal.

Figure7: Model of the demodulation of a signal with noise

Consequently, Widex has developed a more secure variety of the FSK-method for the reception of wireless transmissions with a high degree of noise in the transmitted signals. The new method introduces a larger number of measuring points than the traditional two, which means that the receiver is able to determine with a much higher degree of certainty whether a received signal should be interpreted as a 0 or a 1.

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The Widex Sound
All hearing aid users want to hear the best possible sound. Achieving this is the goal of any hearing aid manufacturer. But what makes Widex different is our broad-based approach to getting the most natural sound possible out of all the hearing aids we develop. We do this by focusing on technology that helps you not just to hear speech or loud sounds - but all the sounds in the real world clearly. Being able to hear speech and conversation is of course essential, but in order to obtain a real-world listening experience, you need hearing aids that can help you hear the full spectrum of sounds. All Widex hearing aids are designed so that subtle soft sounds are amplified enough to be heard while loud sounds are heard but do not sound uncomfortable. In other words, a real-world listening experience. This forms the basis for what we call the Widex Sound.

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3D TruSound

Preserving the fundamentals of a natural sound experience InterEar communication through a new, advanced wireless technology. Our new, proprietary WidexLink technology, which has been developed specifically for data exchange and audio streaming in a hearing aid system, offers new and exiting possibilities for exchange of data between hearing aids, and between hearing aids and external devices. The new technology enables the left and right hearing aid in a pair to share the information obtained by the opposite hearing aid, so that information from both ears is taken into account during signal processing. We call this data exchange InterEar communication.

InterEar communication is part of the foundation of the advanced features that comprise 3D TruSound. 3D TruSound is a new dimension of sound processing which aims at preserving the fundamentals of a natural sound experience and providing the highest possible sound quality at the same time.

The TruSound inheritance is excellent sound quality. With the introduction of 3D TruSound, a new dimension is added; namely the preservation of important localisation cues in natural hearing. In addition to the preservation of important sound localisation cues, coordinated noise reduction in difficult listening situations, and enhanced sound quality features are also central elements in 3D TruSounds.

3D TruSound includes the Digital Pinna – a feature which simulates the shadow effect of the outer ear in natural hearing. Furthermore, 3D TruSound also features TruSound Softener which can handle ultra short and extremely fast changes in sound level – for instance when somebody drops cutlery in a metal sink.

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Figure8: The3D TruSound features

Advanced Sound Quality Features – Taking high sound quality a step further
A discussed above, one of the key elements in the CLEAR440 hearing aid is a collection of features designed to preserve important psychoacoustic cues. Another cornerstone in the CLEAR440 product family is a collection of enhanced sound quality features. These features will be described in more detail in the following.

InterEar feedback cancelling To be successful, a feedback system must be effective in terms of eliminating feedback. The precision with which it can determine if the signal really is a feedback signal is also important.

Experience has shown that the Multi-directional active feedback cancelling system is extremely efficient in controlling dynamic feedback problems. No matter if the hearing aid user is talking on the phone, hugging a friend, or putting on a hat, the Multidirectional active feedback cancelling system has been designed to ensure that whistling does not occur.

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With the introduction of CLEAR440, we have managed to make our industry leading system even more precise. Specifically, when an external, autocorrelated sound like a whistle or an alarm is picked up by the hearing aid, the InterEar coordination between the hearing aids means that they are able to compare detected sound from both sides of the head. If the feedback-like signal is the same on both sides, it can be deducted that it is an external sound rather than a feedback signal which has been detected. Thus, with InterEar feedback cancellation, we are able to avoid gain regulation when it is not necessary as a result of “false positives”. However, if a feedback-like sound is only found on one side of the head, the system will deduct that it is feedback which needs to be handled.

Enhanced bandwidth Audio bandwidth is one of the key factors in maintaining a high sound quality. Thanks to the new technology in the CLEAR440 product range, we are able to offer an exceptionally broad audio bandwidth in models with a Clearband receiver, stretching from 70 Hz to 10.5 kHz in the music program, and 100 Hz to 11.2 kHz for digitally transmitted sound. This is industry leading.

One area where a broad audio bandwidth makes a clear difference for hearing aid users is when they listen to music. The high frequencies provide ambience and brilliance to the sound. Thus, the sound experience will be somewhat richer with an upper bandwidth of 10.5 kHz when listening to a hi-hat or cymbals, for instance. Similarly, an audio bandwidth stretching as far down as 70 Hz will produce a fuller bass.

TruSound Softener The advanced sound quality features of 3D TruSound also include the TruSound Softener. The purpose of the TruSound Softener feature is to make impulse sounds, such as rattling porcelain or hammer blows, less annoying without removing them from the surrounding sound environment or making them unnaturally soft. The TruSound Softener is described in more detail in a separate whitepaper entitled TruSound Softener: A new algorithm for detecting and handling impulse sounds.

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C-ISP
The new C-ISP platform from Widex is a future proof platform that integrates a robust and secure digital wireless link technology. Our new and powerful C-ISP platform puts us in a leading position in terms of connectivity, the retention of important psychoacoustic cues, and sound quality features, including enhanced bandwidth and impulse sound handling.

With a 60% higher signal processing capacity, the new C-ISP technology takes our acclaimed ISP platform a step further. In the new C-ISP unit, the well-known technology of ISP is placed in a new, permeable structure with smooth exchange of information.

Even better results coupled with a partner. The C-ISP unit is designed to perform well on its own, but it produces even better results coupled with a partner in a binaural fitting.

Synchronisation of important audiological features, user remote control of selected features, and high-definition audio streaming from external sources are all made possible by the exchange of data between the two hearing aids.

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Figure9: C-ISP enables CLEAR440 to coordinate features, calibrate decision-making and communicate to the user.

The signal analysis part of the C-ISP platform contains information about speech and noise ratio and level, acoustic feedback and signal origin.

It also contains the Steep Gradient Detector (the detection mechanism of TruSound Softener), which will catch sudden impulse sounds in the broadband signal and determine if they are noise or speech.

All sound processing takes place in the signal processing unit. The new C-ISP signal processing unit is able to incorporate data collected by the opposite hearing aid in the processing. We call this capacity for continual adjustment of discrete hearing aid functions both within hearing aids and between them InterEar.

InterEar InterEar makes it possible to retain a number of important psychoacoustic cues. These cues are provided by the signal processing features below.

InterEar TruSound Compression preserves the Interaural Level Difference (ILD), which is an important psychoacoustic cue for the localisation of sound coming from the sides.

InterEar Speech Enhancer aims at improving speech perception in noise by singling out the dominant speaker in situations where several speakers are talking at once.

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Digital Pinna recreates the natural pinna shadow effect, which is an important cue for the listener to know if a sound is coming from in front or behind. InterEar feedback Cancelling minimises the risk of continuous steady sounds (also known as auto-correlated sounds) being attenuated by the feedback system because they are mistaken for feedback

SmartSpeak and SmartTone were introduced with the dual ISP platform. These are carried over to the C-ISP platform with new SmartSpeak messages.

The ability to exchange information via the WidexLink technology also makes it possible to create a stereo-like experience when the hearing aid user is listening to the Zen styles in a pair of coordinated CLEAR440 hearing aids. This may create a richer experience for the user when listening to the Zen styles.

The My Profile system is a new unit introduced with the C-ISP platform. The audiological profile of the user, his personal preferences, and fitting setup are stored in this unit.

The selection of listening programs and compound programs is also done via this unit. And direct audio input from FM or Tele is received here before being moved elsewhere for further processing in the C-ISP.

The platform for WidexLink C-ISP is the platform for our new, proprietary WidexLink technology, which has been developed specifically for data exchange and audio streaming in a hearing aid system.

The exchange of information between the C-ISP platforms in a binaurally fitted pair of CLEAR440 hearing aids happens via WidexLink. Data from the C-ISP unit in the other hearing aid are transmitted as an InterEar percentile data exchange.

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Figure10: C-ISP is the platform for the new WidexLink technology

Widex Hearing Aids

1. WIDEX CLEAR440
Inspired by the fundamental characteristics of natural hearing, the WIDEX CLEAR 440 models are the culmination of our efforts to raise the bar in the science of excellent sound in hearing aids.

The platform: C-ISP CLEAR440 is a unique hearing aid – powerful on its own but strongest when coupled. The C-ISP communication platform in CLEAR440, with a total of three individually designed chips, makes this new power possible. C-ISP combines and manages a series of sound analysis and processing functions for clearer hearing.

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Moreover, C-ISP has the capacity for continual adjustment of discrete hearing aid functions both within hearing aids and between them – what we call InterEar (IE). The result is an unequalled balance of performance that replicates the natural hearing experience even more closely.

WidexLink Our revolutionary WidexLink™ is the first wireless connection designed especially to allow both InterEar data transmission, synchronisation and digital wireless transmission of audio to and between hearing aids.

And uniquely, proprietary WidexLink can deliver artifact-free audio transmission in real time.

Sound perception and sound quality:

IE TruSound Compression: IE TruSound Compression amplifies soft, normal speech and loud inputs and coordinates gain changes between right and left hearing aid. Thereby the natural interaural level difference (ILD) between the ears can be preserved, resulting in better localisation of sound direction for the user.

IE Speech Enhancer exploits the binaural percentile information to enhance speech above the threshold and attenuate background noise below it. In this way, coupled WIDEX CLEAR™440 hearing aids attempt to single out a dominant speaker in background noise.

Freedom of choice

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The WIDEX CLEAR440 series gives the user freedom to choose from a vast variety of features:

IE Feedback Cancelling: a multidirectional adaptive feedback cancelling system that minimises whistling. In CLEAR440 the new InterEar (IE) data exchange is incorporated, coordinating information on feedback occurrence between both ears. The potential in InterEar data exchange is to make the IE Feedback Cancelling more agile in handling acoustic feedback in situations where the acoustic property of the feedback signal resembles that of musical instruments.

Enhanced bandwidth: CLEAR440 supports the widest bandwidth currently available in a hearing aid, including an enhanced low frequency bandwidth (down to 70Hz) for the full enjoyment of music.

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FreeFocus in CLEAR440 allows users to hear in selected directions – without them needing to turn their heads. Definable volume control: CLEAR440 offers a choice between 1, 1.5 and 2 dB steps. IE Zen – natural relaxation: Our popular Zen dedicated relaxation and tone program has been enhanced. Sound generation is distributed between the hearing aids (InterEar) – some instruments in one ear, different instruments in the other.

2. WIDEX BABY440
WIDEX BABY440 hearing aid is dedicated to hearing impaired babies.

Hearing is crucial to language development. That’s why it is vital to provide the best possible auditory support to babies diagnosed with hearing loss. We believe the best way to do this is to focus on the needs of babies in terms of size, audibility and fitting. WIDEX BABY440 is a Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE) hearing aid designed exclusively for babies. Its miniature size means that babies can easily wear it with comfort. It is light and soft on the ear, sits securely and contains no accessible parts.

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Figure12:Widex Baby440

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EarWire: New and improved design that is even stronger. Instant receiver ear-tip: New ear-tip to ensure sealing in ear canal; includes pressure relief for comfortable insertion and secure attachment for RECD probe. ClearBand receiver: A wide bandwidth receiver for babies to provide the optimal preconditions for speech acquisition. Soft anchor: New and specifically designed soft anchor holds the hearing aid in place, allowing better fixation of the instant ear-tip. Eye loop: The eye loop attaches the SecureFix retention string which prevents the baby from losing their hearing aid. LED: Gives visual indications of hearing aid use.

Our range of secure features offers the utmost flexibility, with a wide palette of safety features to give babies comfort and parents peace of mind.

Supporting language development

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It is vital that babies have access to all sounds in the speech spectrum. The extended bandwidth in the WIDEX BABY™440 hearing aid aims to ensure the reproduction of high-frequency sounds and to support more rounded speech and language development. With its ClearBand receiver, WIDEX BABY440 extends high frequency output even beyond 10 kHz, exceeding that of traditional hearing aids:

Faster, more accurate fitting With babies, specialist fitting is crucial. The new Child fit fitting flow in Compass is designed to make the fitting process of WIDEX BABY440 both accurate and fast and is dedicated to meeting the needs of babies during the fitting session.

The WIDEX BABY440 hearing aid is also fast and easy to customize with an instant receiver ear-tip option. For both professionals and parents this lessens the time spent on frequent ear impressions and waiting for new ear moulds while for babies there is less discomfort.

3. MIND
Exceptional sound is the hallmark of the mind family. If you are looking for a state-ofthe-art hearing aid that makes sure you hear superb sound wherever and whenever, then mind is for you. Mind is also the first hearing aid to feature the revolutionary Zen relaxation and tone program. This can actively help with managing tinnitus and help you relax. Zen is available in the entire mind family. From the high-end mind440 to the value mind220, there is something for all types of hearing loss.

The mind family:

MIND440

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The high-end series of mind440 hearing aids features the world’s smartest hearing aids. From the unique Zen relaxation and tone program to SmartSpeak, the innovative verbal messaging system - there is a mind440 model to suit all types of hearing loss. And as it is so easy to fit, it is also the perfect choice for children.

MIND330

Mind330 is packed with features unique to a mid-range hearing aid series to give you a wider range of sounds and superb sound quality.

MIND220

Mind220 is the perfect choice if you want to enjoy the benefits of high-quality, digital sound and proven technology - all at an affordable price.

4. Other Hearing Aids

INTEO - TAILOR-MADE SOUND

Inteo was the first hearing aid to truly focus on the user. Put simply, Inteo provides you with a unique listening experience. It responds not just to your particular hearing loss but to all your hearing needs and preferences, as well as the listening environment you find yourself in. To do this, Inteo treats the sound coming into the hearing aid in a unique way. It is as if your hearing aid has a control centre where all information about you and your immediate listening situation is gathered and assessed. Then it is corrected according to your

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specific needs and preferences before the sound is allowed to reach your ears. This way, it can actually deliver sound that is tailor-made for you.

AIKIA - HEARING IN NOISE

With AIKIA you can relax while your hearing aid does the work. Listening in noisy environments such as at a dinner party or in a café can be a challenge even at the best of times. AIKIA lets you hold a conversation easily - even when several people are talking at once, and even in noisy environments. AIKIA also adapts automatically to each situation you find yourself in. Distant sounds, which can be hard to hear, are enhanced, while soft speech sounds become audible again. So you will never have to strain to hear. And as part of the Inteo family, AIKIA has of course superb sound.

FLASH

Advanced technology does not always have to be out of reach. Flash is the affordable choice for both first-time and experienced users. It is extremely easy to use, which means that you can get used to wearing it quickly. It is easy for your hearing care professional to adjust or fit, which means that you get sound that is perfectly suited to your own type of hearing loss. And it is easy to wear, meaning that you get the most out of it for long periods. And like all Widex hearing aids, Flash sounds sensational.

REAL

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If you are looking for a simple but quality hearing aid, then REAL is for you. REAL is easy to use and discreet - and offers you the reassurance of modern technology that does not compromise performance or sound. Nor does it cut corners on features: from improving the way you hear speech to reducing feedback, REAL makes your listening experience more enjoyable and more real.

SENSO DIVA

Senso Diva is a 100% digital, fully automatic hearing aid, which continuously adjust to the user’s listening environment. • SENSO P The signal processing is not quite as refined as in the Senso+ series, and the price of a Senso P hearing aid is correspondingly lower.

Behind the Widex-User Interface
The user interface is where the user interacts with the device, from the keys, to the shape to the layout. Great importance has been placed on designing this interaction to be as user-friendly as possible – something we call Widex Ease. Widex Ease takes into account a number of important considerations: User understanding: the user’s previous experience and understanding of a specific product. Designing the devices to look and function in a way most people would expect is an important aim. Recognition: plays an important role in making the user feel that the DEX devices are easy and intuitive to use. Keys and displays on our products have a design and location that are familiar from other technologies.

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Automated behaviour: interacting with the user interface should be as automatic as possible, fast and require less attention. Intentional and predictable: to obtain smooth interaction with the DEX devices, all reactions must be predictable and understandable for the user. Sensory response: when interacting with a DEX device, users should have a tactile and visual response to give them a feeling of reassurance and control.

RC-DEX
A stylish, compact and user-friendly hearing aid remote control. Its simple and intuitive design allows users better control of hearing aid functions such as volume and program change.

Easy-to-use remote control RC-DEX is a simple, compact and user-friendly device that gives users better control of selected hearing aid functions. Small enough to fit on a key ring, RC-DEX lets the user adjust volume and change between programs easily and discreetly.

Tactile, audible and visible RC-DEX is intelligently laid out with three simple keys, minimising confusion and time on the learning curve. As features are activated, verbal messages or tone cues (SmartSpeak) confirm the user’s choices in the hearing aids. An LED indicator on the remote control shows when it is activated.

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RC-DEX volume and program functions mirror the hearing aid configuration selected during fitting. This makes it easy to use the customised hearing aid.

Figure 13 : RC-DEX

TV -DEX
A palm-sized, user-friendly wireless device purpose-built for listening to TV and audio. Users can enjoy up to 10 hours of uninterrupted, top quality TV and stereo sound between recharges in Echo Free audio quality.

Wireless TV and stereo sound optimisation TV-DEX is a palm-sized, user-friendly wireless assistive listening device purpose-built for enjoying TV and audio. Taking full advantage of Widex Link transmission, TVDEX allows up to 10 hours of uninterrupted, stereo TV or hi-fi sound between recharges. With TV-DEX, users connect directly to pure, uninterrupted sound.

Echo Free The real strength of the TV-DEX assistive listening device is its ability to deliver artifact-free audio transmission in real time. Thanks to WidexLink technology, the device offers extended bandwidth (100Hz - 11.2 kHz) with Clear band models. And with Echo Free stereo transmission of the TV audio signal, users experience their TV or

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stereo sound exactly as it was intended, without annoying delays, distortion or echoes. WidexLink technology provides an unparalleled low delay of less than 10ms for wireless sound transmission from external devices to the hearing aids. This is especially useful when watching TV, as the user receives input from the TV loudspeakers via their hearing aid microphones as well as from the wirelessly transmitted signal. Echo effects between these two signals start to occur when the delay reaches and exceeds 30-40 ms.

Control as easy as 1, 2, 3 The TV-DEX consists of the TV-Controller and the TV-Base. The TV-DEX Controller features three simple keys to maximize control while minimizing confusion: on/off, volume and ‘Room Off’. Activating ‘Room Off’ turns the hearing aid microphones off and transmits the TV audio signal directly to the hearing aids, preventing surrounding sounds from interfering with the program. When ‘Room Off’ is not activated, the audio signal is still transmitted directly to the hearing aids, and surrounding sound is processed via the active hearing aid microphones at the same time.

Widex Echo free technology manages sound input to reproduce the TV sound exactly as intended – without annoying delays, feedback or echoes – while allowing the user to hear surrounding sounds.

The ultimate power base The TV-Base serves as a wireless transmitter for the sound source as well as a charger for the TV-Controller. The base encodes and sends digital stereo sound to the controller, which sends it directly and wirelessly to the hearing aid(s) for processing. The base is connected to a power outlet; inputs for TV and stereo are at the rear of the unit.

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Figure14:TV-DEX

Application
The new digital transmission technology is a central element in our new Widex CLEAR product range. It is used for the transmission of both data and audio signals in a large number of situations. Transmission of audio

WidexLink is used for the transmission of audio signals from external devices to the hearing aids when the user watches TV, talks on his mobile phone, or listens to music.

Transmission of Audio via WidexLink

Typical Situation:

Sender and recipient:

TV

TV-Dex – Hearing aids

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Hi fi

TV-Dex – Hearing aids

Mobile phone

M-Dex – Hearing aids

Personal audio device (Ipod, mp3 player, etc.)

M-Dex – Hearing aids

Transmission of data
WidexLink is also the employed in the transmission of data between remote control (RC-Dex) and hearing aid, and in the exchange of synchronization data between hearing aids (Inter-ear communication).

Transmission of data via WidexLink

Sender and recipient:

Feature:

RC-Dex – hearing aid

Remote control HA synchronization

Hearing aid – hearing aid

Volume control Program shift

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IE coordination sHearing aid – hearing aid Compression Feedback cancellation Noise reduction Hearing aid – hearing aid WidexLink Surveillance Lost partner alarm

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 www.google.com\wireless\widexlink

 www.scribd.com\widexlink

 www.widex.com

 www.widex.com\hearingaids\CLEAR

 www.widex.com\hearingaids\BABY

 www.widex.com\hearingaids\Dex

 www.widex.com\hearingaids\MIND

 www.altavista.com\technology\wireless

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