MEMS to Replace Conventional Microphone Based Hearing Aids


  • According to ResearchAndMarkets, the global hearing aid market is estimated to reach seven billion dollars in 2023
  • MEMS microphones have several advantages that make them a suitable solution for hearing aids

Hearing is an important factor in human health. With the ageing population and environmental noise exposure, hearing health have become more important than ever.

According to the World Health Organisation(WHO), more than 900 million people are expected to have disabling hearing loss by 2050. Disabling hearing loss refers to hearing loss higher than 40 decibels (dB) in the better hearing ear in adults and higher than 30 dB in the better hearing ear in children.

How does it work?

A hearing aid detects sounds in order to amplify them for the user. This uses a microphone for amplification. Traditional electret condenser microphones have long remained the most used microphones in hearing aids. In the present scenario, these traditional microphones are getting replaced by micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS).

SMT MEMS-based microphones

Knowles Corporation has recently released has released one more MEMS solution for hearing aids. According to the company, the SiSonic is a third-generation MEMS microphone. It is said to achieve the electro-acoustic expectations of the customer. This can be achieved by providing higher sensitivity and lower noise ratio to the designed device.

Runs on a third-generation MM20 platform

As stated by the company, the device runs on a third-generation MM20 platform. It consists of an acoustic sensor and a low-noise input buffer. The output of this circuit is provided to an output amplifier. This device can be suitable for applications requiring excellent wideband audio performance and RF immunity.

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Features voice-recognition functionality

The device uses a surface mount package technology. This helps the device to be mounted on a smaller space. It has a dimension of 11 mm x 8 mm. The device is said to be using a digital microphone. This eliminates the analogue noise generated in traditional earphones. The device can be set to the desired gain through onboard toggle switches.

The device is also said to feature multiple working modes. These modes can be switched between sleep,low-power and standard modes. The device also features a low-power SNR sensor. This sensor helps in optimising voice trigger applications.

Manuel Tagliaviniprincipal analyst for MEMS & Sensors recently addressed the media by saying,

MEMS microphones have several advantages that make them the most suitable solutions for end applications such as hearing aids.MEMS microphones offer a highly reliable, robust design with low susceptibility to particle ingress; an ultra-compact footprint, offering market-leading sensitivity-to-size ratio; technological advancements bringing optimal electro-acoustics performance, as well as highly versatile and tunable designs with programmable integrated circuits.

The increase in MEMS-based hearing device seems to be a better alternative to conventional hearing aid solutions. These devices can also be utilised in applications developing smart wearables and voice amplification systems.




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