Living With a Hearing Aid

What is a Deep Neural Network (DNN)?

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Understand how a DNN in your hearing aid can help you hear.

Oticon has launched a new hearing aid, Oticon More™. Inside this new hearing device there is a deep neural network, or DNN, which will help give you an even better listening experience. But what is a DNN and how can it help you hear?

It sounds complicated, but let us explain.

DNN is a type of machine learning that mimics the way the brain learns. It’s been used for a variety of tasks; some that you might be familiar with, like language translation and image search tools, and some that you might not know about, like medical diagnosis – UCLA trained a DNN to detect cancer cells! Now, we’re using it for our new hearing device, Oticon More.

The general idea of a DNN is that it learns through repetitive action from a collection of samples, like 100 pictures of different dogs, as opposed to a set of man-made rules, like “a dog has a black nose and floppy ears.” In this way, a DNN learns in the same way the human brain does – through practice and making mistakes.

Here’s how it works:

  1. A computer is given a piece of information, like an image or a sound. Let’s say in this example it’s given a trumpet sound. Unlike you or I, a computer wouldn’t know what this is.

  2. The computer passes this sound through its DNN, recognizing what it can and sorting elements of it – like a high pitch or a low pitch sound.

  3. When it reaches the end of this process it decides if the sound is a trumpet or not.

  4. It’s given feedback on this answer – a yes or a no – which the computer uses to strengthen its decision making.

  5. The process is repeated over and over with lots of different trumpet sounds, until the computer can learn to recognize it instantly. Just like a brain would.

DNN in a hearing aid

Now let’s say this DNN was trained with millions of real-life sound scenes – a restaurant, train station or busy street. The DNN would learn to identify and balance each sound within it, so you can access the sounds most important to you.

So that’s exactly what we did! We trained a DNN with 12 million complex real-life sound scenes like these, which it then learned to analyze, organize and balance. After it had learned all this awesome knowledge, it was ready to power Oticon More. Now this hearing device can utilize the DNN’s intelligent capabilities when balancing and prioritizing the sounds that are important to you, which also supports your brain health.



The benefits of having a hearing aid with DNN

Imagine you are in a restaurant with friends or family. The person in front of you is talking as you stand to leave. Because a traditional hearing aid is trained to focus on speech in front of you and cancel all other noise – especially in loud environments – you might not hear the waiter standing behind you with a tray full of glasses.

With DNN, your brain has access to the full sound scene, so you can hear the person next to you, the clatter of cutlery on a plate a table over and the waiter standing behind you – all balanced and amplified in a true-to-life way.

This is because a DNN provides your brain with more meaningful sound information, which makes sound much clearer and speech easier to follow. In fact, our research shows that Oticon More delivers 30% more sound to the brain and increase speech understanding by 15%.*

Try Oticon More with a DNN for yourself

From rediscovering forgotten sounds to no longer being held back by noisy situations, Oticon More’s revolutionary use of DNN could have a great impact on your life.

Try it for yourself, risk-free


* Compared to Oticon Opn S™, Santurette, et al. 2020. Oticon More clinical evidence. Oticon Whitepaper.

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