The brain loves a good signal-to-noise ratio. Patients also prefer the sound quality of a device that does not put artificial restrictions on the sound that passes through. The key is to know when to apply directionality and when to allow a natural, full sound picture to be presented to the patient.
Research has shown that patients prefer directionality when it helps improve speech understanding, but they prefer an omni-directional response at other times. The intelligent decision making in our FreeFocus directional system automatically activates directionality when it can improve the signal-to-noise ratio for the patient. At all other times, it will provide the excellent sound quality of an omni-directional response. All of this happens automatically without the need to push a button to change settings.
In addition, Oticon pioneered the concept of Split Directionality, in which the low frequencies are kept in omni and the higher frequencies provide a directional response. This system allows directionality to be applied at much lower levels than most other systems in the marketplace. This mode provides both good sound quality but also the key benefit of improved speech understanding in moderate level, speech-in-noise situations.