Wearables are crossing the entertainment and fitness use cases to healthcare as evidenced by a study of Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Samsung) revealed the findings of a new study published in Clinical and Experimental Otorhinolaryngology, a scientific journal dedicated to ear, nose, and throat (ENT) research.
The study indicated that Galaxy Buds Pro’s Ambient Sound feature is effective in helping those with mild to moderate hearing loss to better hear sounds in their surroundings. The research was carried out in partnership with Samsung Medical Center.
Samsung has been working in collaboration with Samsung Medical Center for over 10 years, focusing on the impact mobile devices can have on hearing and researching new ways to optimize sound experiences for users. This latest research marks an important next step in Samsung’s ongoing commitment to collaborating on pioneering innovations that benefit people in their everyday lives.
The study assessed the efficacy of a hearing aid, a personal sound amplification product, and Galaxy Buds Pro. According to the authors, no other study has yet included true wireless earbuds when evaluating the clinical performance of hearing devices. The study is the first to demonstrate the potential benefit of true wireless earbuds for individuals with mild to moderate hearing impairments and has the potential to improve the lives of 1.5 billion people globally who are currently living with some degree of hearing loss.
“With rapidly aging populations it’s expected that, by 2050, 1 in 10 people will have hearing loss. But while hearing aids are useful for managing hearing impairments, uptake remains relatively low, mainly due to the high price,” said Il Joon Moon, associate professor at the Department of Otorhinolaryngology at Samsung Medical Center. “The initial study findings are very promising and encourage people to discover alternative devices, such as Galaxy Buds Pro, that can support them in their day to day lives.”
Galaxy Buds Pro, the hearing aid, and the personal sound amplification product underwent three key tests: electroacoustic assessment, sound amplification evaluation, and a clinical performance evaluation.
- Electroacoustic Assessment
First, the electroacoustic characteristics of each device were assessed to see if they met the key performance criteria for hearing aids: output sound pressure level, frequency range, equivalent input noise, and total harmonic distortion. The results revealed that Galaxy Buds Pro met each of these four criteria, indicating that they show comparable performance to hearing aids.
- Sound Amplification Evaluation
A sound amplification evaluation was performed to examine if the devices adequately boosted sound. Each device was tested at seven different frequencies, and all showed an appropriate level of amplification.
- Clinical Performance Evaluation
A clinical performance evaluation investigated changes in individuals’ hearing levels both with and without the devices, and their ability to recognize words and sentences. Participants had mild to moderate hearing loss, with a median age of 63 years. Statistical significance was observed at 1,000Hz, 2,000Hz, and 6,000Hz, meaning Galaxy Buds Pro sufficiently amplified sound at the three frequencies of speech pitches. Furthermore, in total, over 57 percent of the participants reported that Galaxy Buds Pro were able to help them communicate in a quiet environment.
The Samsung study also discovered that, when wearing Galaxy Buds Pro, individuals were able to understand spoken words better — the results found statistically significant improvement in performance for the three devices compared to that in the unaided condition. This suggests that along with hearing aids and personal sound amplification products, Galaxy Buds Pro could potentially provide communicative benefit for individuals with hearing loss, and especially for those with mild and moderate loss.
“As we develop new products and services, we are mindful of how our technology can help people to defy barriers and do more,” says Han-gil Moon, Master and Head of Advanced Audio Lab, Mobile Communications Business at Samsung Electronics. “These findings reflect our ongoing commitment to creating innovations that enable everyone to better enjoy everyday experiences, and we plan to extend the test to more participants in the coming months.”
The Galaxy Buds Pro feature Ambient Sound, which can amplify nearby sounds by up to 20 decibels and, with four levels to choose from, users are able to adjust and customize how they experience sound according to their needs.