Listening takes effort. The amount of effort that is required varies depending on the individuals, the environments, as well as the quality of the hearing aid processed sounds. Indeed, Widex has recognized the importance of a good sound quality and has been designing hearing aids since the day of the Senso with sound quality a top criterion. In recent years, the field of Audiology recognizes that the nature of the hearing aid processed sounds could affect the amount of listening effort that the listeners invest into understanding, and that the cognitive capacity of the individuals could affect the final outcome of their effort. We argue, if we design the hearing aids with a goal such that its output requires the least amount of effort from the listeners to understand, such hearing aids would result in satisfaction in more people, regardless of their cognitive backgrounds.
Since the UNIQUE (and continuing into the BEYOND), Widex has followed the “Effortless Hearing” design rationale in designing its hearing aids. This requires us to be generous in capturing the full range of sounds in the listeners’ environment, to be accurate in purging the sounds that the listeners may not need, and to be innovative in processing the sounds that the listeners want. This also requires us to carefully take the individual’s characteristics into account when specifying the hearing aid output. In this presentation, we will review why an “Effortless Hearing” design rationale is critical, how different hearing aid features could ensure effortless hearing, and present evidence in support of each feature.