Assistive Technology Tools

Assistive Technology Tools
Assistive Technology Tools South Africa

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Hearability South Africa brings you Varibel Hearing aid Glasses www.hearability.co.za Cape Town / JHB / Durban








About Varibel
Though each of the five senses are of great importance, sight and the ability to detect and interpret sound are of the utmost essence to our everyday lives.
It is Varibel’s philosophy to amplify sound as naturally as possible while at the same time maximising your ability to understand speech in all situations, even the most noisy and difficult ones.
Established in 2003, Varibel has built a strong reputation in the Netherlands with the development of superior hearing glasses based on digital technology.
Today, Variabel’s hearing glasses are sold exclusively within the Netherlands where hundreds of wearers enjoy their unique benefits on a daily basis.
In the near future Varibel plans to make their hearing glasses available in other countries around the world through international partnerships, while adding more innovative products to our portfolio.
Varibel strives to improve the quality of life for everyone who comes in touch with our products.




History of Varibel
Since its inception Varibel has gone through several stages of the business cycle. What has been a constant is the high number of satisfied users, who can finally enjoy conversations in noisy surroundings without any difficulty.

To develop their hearing glasses Varibel worked together with Philips Electronics BV and the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.

Once Varibel made its hearing glasses commercially available to the public in 2006, they generated a steady stream of attention from the international audiology community. Various studies all came to the same conclusion: for understanding speech in a noisy environment, Varibel’s hearing glasses are significantly superior to other hearing aids.
In 2011 Variabel added more innovative features to their product. Such as the “Receiver-In-Canal” feature which is connected to the arms of the glasses through a patented magnetic connection.

Supported by positive feedback from both users old and new, Varibel has been able to further commercialise their fully optimised product and has steadily gained ground in the Dutch market since 2012.

The year 2014 will mark the internationalisation of the company. We will start offering our products to select countries around the world. 


Hearing glasses
One in three people over the age of 60 suffers from hearing loss. However, only half of those people use hearing aids and even the ones who do are often less socially engaged. This is in part related to the appearance of hearing aids, but most importantly related to the fact that traditional hearing aids amplify sounds coming from all directions and are incapable of distinguishing background noise from speech.

Varibel’s hearing glasses have finally solved this problem by incorporating four tiny microphones inside each of the glasses’ arms. The sound signals from the microphones are passed through a processor that determines what sounds should be amplified to the ear. This allows the glasses to dampen background noise while selectively strengthening sound coming from in front of the user.



Varibel hearing glasses feature :

• Digital multi channel technology 
• 4 microphones in both the left and right arm
• 4 different listening programs
• A telecoil to connect to (Bluetooth) loop systems

• Rechargeable capability through a patented charger 
• Choice of frames in multiple colors
• Invisible “Receiver-in-Canal” option
• Proven and reliable arm design
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Why Directional Hearing is important
Directional microphones are available in all size hearing aids except the smallest Completely-in-Canal devices. This results in less noise, greater comfort, and better sound perception for most patients. However, because unwanted noise reduction can hamper sound and a more normalised perception, hearing aids should be fitted with the capacity to maximise auditory processing and be able to learn from natural sound.

The solution of Varibel hearing glasses is based on the fact that the direction of different sounds can be distinguished through the travelling nature of sound. Because the microphones are positioned within different distances from the sound’s origin, they can detect the sound’s direction based on the difference in the time it took for the sound to travel to each microphone. This process can be simplified and improved when there is a larger distance between the microphones, and these larger distances are available on the arms of the spectacles.

This gain in directivity is expressed in the so-called directivity-index or DI. Because the DI is frequency dependent it is usually weighed over the frequency range. This is important for speech intelligibility and is referred to as the speech-intelligibility-weighted directivity index or DIw. DIw is a measure for the attenuation of unwanted sounds from random directions as compared to the sensitivity to sound coming from the frontal direction. The processing of Varibel’s hearing glasses give a DIw of 8 dB, which is extremely high for such small array of only 4 microphones over a length of 72 mm. In short: sounds in front of you will be perceived 8 dB louder than the noises surrounding you.

Varibel’s philosophy is to amplify sound as naturally as possible while at the same time maximising your ability to understand speech in all environments, even the most noisy and difficult ones. 


Look good, hear best
The integration of spectacles and hearing aids in one device bring a lot of other benefits to the table. Of course the frame has to suit your features and personality. Not just color, but design is also an important factor.

Varibel has a range of 9 frames in its collection to match your personal preference. Each frame is available in 3 colors which gives you a total choice of 27 different styles. The color of the arms will be matched with the color of the frame.

You also have a range of choices on the audiology front. Your audiologist or optician can advise you to choose either an “Ear Connector” with a tube or a “Receiver-in-Canal” (RIC) to bring the sound into your outer ear canal. Both options use the patented magnetic connection to the arms of the glasses and will also match the chosen color of the frame and arms.

Last but not least your hearing consultant can choose between 2 different RIC’s depending on your hearing loss: a smaller version for normal fittings and a more powerful version for those suffering from more severe hearing loss. 

Varibel and the future
Based on its current proven technologies, Varibel strives to develop more products in the near future. Our product road map foresees the implementation of wireless technology to make our hearing glasses even more versatile.

We are also looking into solutions for occasional hearing problems and for more flexible versions of our current product, for example by adding customisable frames to our portfolio.

An international expansion program has been introduced to offer people around the world the benefit of understanding speech in noisy surroundings through the use of Varibel hearing solutions.

Varibel is confident it will expand its position as the world’s leading hearing glasses manufacturer through more innovative and creative hearing solutions in the near future. 


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