You might think that spider lurking in your kitchen or the fly buzzing in your face at Mueller Park is nothing but a nuisance. However, researchers see them as helpful in unlocking the secrets to better hearing aids.

Helping Hearing Aids Locate Sounds Spider web in the woods.

While hearing aids improve your ability to perceive sounds in any environment, some can pose more difficulties than others. Places with background noise and lots of people can be challenging for hearing aid users. Especially when trying to locate a specific voice when multiple people are speaking.

This dilemma is commonly referred to as the “cocktail party problem” and it’s one that researchers are working hard to solve.

Studying Flies to Improve Directional Hearing

Researchers at the University of Toronto are studying the hearing ability of a small fly known as Ormia ochracea. Ormia’s eardrums are connected, which gives them the ability to quickly figure out which direction sound is coming from.

This mechanism has already helped inspire technology for mini-directional microphones that are used in hearing aids. Engineers hope to build on that by creating sensor technology to mimic the fly’s eardrum. This would further improve the ability of hearing aids to locate sounds.

Spider Silk in Hearing Aids

Research is also being done to improve hearing aids through the material used to make them.

A 2017 study indicated that spider silk could serve as an ideal material to create better directional microphones in hearing aids. The fibers are light yet durable, a rare combination that can improve sound quality at all frequencies.

The Benefits of Modern Hearing Aids

As we keep our eye on continuing advancements in hearing technology, it’s important to note that today’s hearing aids offer a wide array of benefits, including:

  • Improved physical health. People with untreated hearing loss are much more likely to have balance issues and suffer injuries from falls.
  • Improved mental health: Those who use hearing aids report lower levels of anxiety, anger and depression.
  • Better cognitive function: Untreated hearing loss increases the risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
  • Increased social interactions. Hearing aids improve your ability to communicate with others. This can strengthen relationships and boost your confidence in social situations.

If you have hearing loss, don’t put off seeking treatment. Call Bountiful Hearing Center today to schedule an appointment and experience the benefits of hearing aids for yourself.