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Evaluation of Extended-wear Hearing Aid Technology for Operational Military Use

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Technical Report,01 Jul 2014,30 Jun 2015

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The Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Bethesda United States

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The primary goal of this research effort is to determine the potential viability of the Lyric device both as a deployable hearing aid for Service Members with existing hearing loss and, in the future, as a possible form factor for a transparent hearing protection device that could protect the hearing of normal-hearing listeners without degrading auditory situational awareness. Electroacoustic magnetic interference testing demonstrated no measurable interference between the Lyric device and common military communication transmission frequencies. Preliminary testing on one subject suggests a moderate amount of attenuation when the device is worn in the off condition, primarily above 1000 Hz attenuation is increased to typical double hearing protection values with use of traditional earmuffs or earplugs. Additionally, preliminary testing on one subject suggests preservation of sound localization cues similar to an open ear condition when tested in the active mode presumably due to maintenance of hearing thresholds through 12-14 kHz when in the active mode. While still preliminary, these results suggest the Lyric device has the potential to provide hearing protection and amplification for Service Members for mild hearing loss while maintaining a higher level of situational awareness than most, if not all, currently available hearing protection systems.

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