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In the Fight Against Hearing Loss the Roger Pen has a Licence to Thrill

Imagine 007 walking into a room filled with deadly gadgets and weapons with Q, the Quartermaster. This mission, Mr. Bond, if you choose to accept it, will put a big dent in the battle Phonak Roger Penagainst hearing loss.

One of the weapons you will employ looks like a writing instrument. It's called the Roger Pen, and it's made by a company called Phonak.

It may look like a pen, Mr. Bond. But looks can be deceiving – there is a lot more to the Roger Pen than meets the eye and we believe that it's going to improve the lives of people who are dealing with hearing loss issues.

This may sound like a thriller straight out of a movie theatre but the Roger Pen is very real. And the best part – you don't need to be a secret agent in order to get your hands on one.

According to the website and press release, Roger by Phonak is a new digital wireless standard that helps hearing aid users to understand 62 per cent more (in noise and over distance) than those individuals with normal hearing. It can be used as a stand-alone microphone or alongside other Roger Pens or the Roger Clip-On Mic. It also features Bluetooth technology for cell-phone calling, and can also be used to listen to TV and multimedia. It uses cutting-edge wireless microphones to pick up the voice of the speaker and transmit it wirelessly over 2.4 GHz to miniature ear-level receivers.

Hearing loss is a huge problem that affects millions of people around the world. In the United States alone, Stanford University says that approximately 36 million American adults — 17 per cent of the entire population — report some degree of hearing loss.

Linda Thibodeau, a Ph.D professor at the University of Texas at Dallas, describes her findings of this new technology that allows people with hearing loss to hear and understand speech better than those with normal hearing. The finding is evident in cases where conditions are most challenging for people with hearing loss: in noise and over distance.

M.J. DeSousa, Connect Hearing’s Director of Professional Practice, is pleased to see advances in new technology that can make an impact in the battle against hearing loss.

“It's always a thrill to see the impact hard work of scientists, researchers and doctors have in the fight against hearing loss,” says DeSousa, adding that Connect Hearing offers free hearing tests to people at clinics across Canada. “The contributions of researchers like Dr. Linda Thibodeau have really helped to refine the technology that goes into products like the Roger Pen. I'm really excited at the difference this product is going to make in people's lives.”

The study focused on 11 adults, aged 16 to 78, with moderate-to-severe hearing loss, fitted with behind-the-ear hearing aids of different brands. Roger enabled people with hearing aids to hear even better than those with normal hearing from 65dB, with one participant who went from 0 to 90 per cent (at 75 dB) and from 0 to 58 per cent (at 80 dB) speech recognition with Roger.

This is extremely encouraging news. In an earlier 2010 report,

Thibodeau's research discovered that Phonak’s adaptive Dynamic FM systems improved the speech in noise performance of hearing instrument users by up to 50 percentage points more than traditional fixed FM systems. Thibodeau tested five adults and five students with moderate-to-severe hearing loss.

Headquartered near Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak, a member of the Sonova Group, has developed, produced and globally distributed state-of-the-art hearing systems and wireless devices for more than 60 years. Maarten Barmentlo, Group Vice President Marketing for Phonak, said in the press release that the company was “extremely proud” of this achievement and are keen to see the impact Roger will have on people's lives.

“Restoring people's hearing is our mission, and we strive to do more, do better for those with hearing loss," says Barmentlo. "To provide better hearing in noise is in our DNA. By giving people an advantage beyond even those with no hearing loss we made the impossible possible."

Here are a couple of testimonials for the Roger Pen:

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