09 June 2011

Internet telephones can help the hearing impaired

A study has confirmed what many hearing impaired people have long known: That conversations on internet telephones are easier to understand than those on traditional telephones.

Many hearing impaired people experience that they can better understand what is being said when a conversation is being carried out on an internet telephone than on a traditional telephone. A study carried out by Bern Hospital in Switzerland shows, that internet telephones give a better sound quality.

On a traditional telephone, the band width lies between 300-3400 Hz, while an internet telephone makes transmissions of frequencies between 200-8500 Hz possible. Internet telephones' ability to transfer high frequencies is of particular significance for understanding what is being said. The high frequencies play an important role in relation to the ability of the hearing impaired to understand consonants such as F, C and T.

The study
A range of test persons, who all experienced a greater understanding through the use of internet telephones contra traditional telephones, took part in the study. On average, there was a 15% greater understanding through a test of single syllable words in quiet surroundings and a 25% greater understanding through tests with whole sentences with background noise.

Technical equipment
To reap the benefits of internet telephones, it is important that the computer is equipped with a microphone and speakers of high quality. As well as this, the other half of the conversation should also use the same software, e.g. Skype, which can be downloaded free from the internet.

Source: Hörakustik, nr. 2, 2011

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