What is pupillometry and how can it measure hearing instrument benefits?

BIHIMA interviews Elaine Hoi Ning Ng from Oticon.


BIHIMA interviewed Elaine Hoi Ning Ng, Principal Researcher at Oticon, about their work in using pupillometry to measure listening effort and uncovering the unknown benefits of hearing instruments.


Pupillometry measures the size of the pupil.  Our body reacts to things involuntarily, for example when you’re nervous your heart beats faster. Pupil dilation and contraction are also automatic responses. Monitoring change in pupil size we can generally see that the pupil dilates when more effort is being put into an activity, like listening, and when it decreases it corresponds to less efforts.

“One of the most valuable things about using pupillometry in hearing technology is that we can capture the benefit of hearing technology the user talks about in everyday life; pupillometry gives us a way to measure this. We often say the eye is the window to the brain – it gives us something objective we can use to quantity the benefits along with subjective feedback from the user.” says Elaine Hoi Ning Ne from Oticon.


  • Elaine Hoi Ning Ng, Prinicipal Researcher, Oticon

  • “Our latest hearing technology offers a more natural sound environment our users – instead of blocking out sounds our technology provides all these sounds, such as birds singing and traffic noises, in a subtly, balanced way which gives the user a better listening experience. The pupillometry technique is a reliable way of showing that by adding all these sounds we’re actually reducing effort and not overloading the brain.
  • Offering a greater sound spectrum helps users to stay active and social which keeps the brain working in a good way, keeps it healthy and can help protect the brain from cognitive decline.
  • Hearing loss and suboptimal hearing amplification may overload the brain. This causes hearing aid users to give up and withdraw. Using pupillometry, we can prove that our hearing technology improves speech understanding while reducing listening effort. this enables the users to take part in conversations and stay engaged in lively social events.
  • People with hearing loss sometimes struggle with being tired at the end of the day from the listening effort. I worked as an audiologist before going into research and remember many patients having this challenge. Ultimately the benefits will come from pupillometry being used to refine the hearing instrument technology to give a better listening experience that is also good for the brain.”


Click here to read the full interview at Audiology World News.

This technology interview series is a regular feature in Audio Infos Magazine and can be found online at Audiology World News. BIHIMA interviews one of its members in each issue of the magazine on a pressing technology topic effecting the hearing instrument industry today.