< Program

Technology Update Session

Session 2C
Update on Companion Mics Developments
Mead C. Killion, PhD, MCK Audio

Since their introduction at the 2004 AAS meeting, Companion Mics clipped to the talker's collar have provided a 12 to 18 dB SNR improvement in noise for up to four talkers.  This improvement results from picking up the voice 6" from the talker's mouth instead of 48" across the table. Unfortunately, the audiologist would have to say: "If you have trouble hearing in noise, take off one of your hearing aids and put on this earphone."  One recent improvement was the development of an open-ear HearHook sound tube hooked over the ear, to deliver sound to the ear canal or ITE microphone.  That worked well for many, but has not been entirely successful in the marketplace.  While waiting for the addition of Bluetooth circuits, a new "Top Fire" HearHook has been developed to deliver a clean signal to the microphone of popular "invisible" BTE hearing aids.  Probe mic measurements of the CMIC/HearHook signal over the ear, compared to the direct signal at that location, showed improvement in 70 dBA restaurant noise from 0% to 97% intelligibility, with the talker 6" away, using a talker speaking QuickSin sentences in our standard recorded restaurant noise.

Mead Killion has published, with colleagues, over 100 scientific papers, 21 Book Chapters, and 98 U.S Patents.  He taught the graduate course in Amplification at Northwestern for 34 years.  After 21 years developing miniature microphones and receivers under AAS honoree Elmer Carlson, he founded Etymotic Research, which developed the ER-3 noise-sealing and ear-isolating audiometric earphone, high-fidelity K-AMP circuits, high fidelity ER-4 earphones, Musicians Earplugs, ER-20 HiFi earplugs, ER-15 Electronic Blastplugs, and the ready-to-use Bean Quiet Sound Amplifiers.  As a past president of AAS, his greatest honor was to have an AAS lecture series named the Killion Annual AAS Lecture Series.