Navigation Links
New software 'hearing dummies' pave the way for tailor-made hearing aids
Date:6/13/2011

New software 'hearing dummies' are part of cutting-edge research that promises to revolutionise the diagnosis and treatment of hearing impairments.

The work could also be used in the long-term to develop a radical new type of hearing aid that can be customised using the hearing dummy to meet the different needs of individual patients. If the procedures gain clinical acceptance, a device could reach the market within 4 years.

The research is being carried out by a team at the University of Essex with funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The aim has been to enable hearing aids to be carefully calibrated so that they address the particular underlying hearing condition affecting each individual patient; and to ensure that they tackle the most common problem affecting hearing-impaired people sound interference, which leads to an inability to follow conversations in noisy environments.

People also differ in how much they are affected by noisy environments, which is why developing a tailor-made approach represents such a significant breakthrough.

"Today's hearing aids don't help to separate sounds they just amplify them," says Professor Ray Meddis, of the University's Department of Psychology, who has led the work. "So they often make everything too noisy for the wearer, especially in social situations like parties, and some wearers still can't make out what people are saying to them. They find the whole experience so uncomfortable that they end up taking their hearing aids out! This discourages them from going to social occasions or busy environments and may result in them withdrawing from society."

The first key advance has been the development of unique computer models (or 'hearing dummies') that can use the information collected during the tests to simulate the precise details of an individual patient's hearing.

By altering individual mathematical algorithms within the computer models, the dummy's hearing capabilities can be adjusted until they perfectly match the hearing characteristics of the patient (e.g. where there is damage to different parts of the ear). This will then indicate the likely cause of the patient's hearing impairment.

"In the same way that a tailor's dummy is used to measure and fit a garment for a particular person, our software dummy is used to gauge a patient's hearing requirements so that their hearing aid can then be programmed to suit their needs right at the beginning of the process without the need to come back for further time consuming adjustments to their device".

The second key advance achieved by Professor Meddis and his team has been in the design of new hearing tests. Current clinical practice focuses on 'threshold testing' to identify how quiet a sound can be while remaining audible, and hearing aids are generally prescribed solely on the basis of these tests.

The new tests, which are quicker and easier to use, concentrate on higher sound levels more typical of everyday life.

"Our work has shown that, when it comes to hearing impairment, no two people are alike," says Professor Meddis. "That's why two people with apparently similar hearing thresholds often react very differently to their hearing aids."

The third advance involves the early stages of developing a new kind of hearing aid that simulates how a normal ear works. The aim of this new aid is to restore the particular aspects of hearing that are faulty and to do this as naturally as possible.

In collaboration with hearing aid manufacturer Phonak, Professor Meddis and his team have now designed a lab-scale version of such a device which is already being tested on patients. The next step is to work with a manufacturer to fine-tune the software and then miniaturise the technology so that the device can be reduced to conventional hearing aid scale.

"Traditionally, the fitting of hearing aids has focused on symptoms, not causes," Professor Meddis comments. "Our aim has been to break through the limitations of current hearing aids and current hearing assessment procedures, and so ultimately enable hearing impaired people to play a much fuller role in society."


'/>"/>

Contact: EPSRC Press Office
pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk
44-179-344-4404
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study shows pharmacies software systems miss potentially dangerous interactions
2. Digital imaging software to create a Google Earth view of the bladder
3. Research finds open-source software is actually more secure for health care IT
4. Resaerch finds open-source software is actually more secure for health care IT
5. Neurologists develop software application to help identify subtle epileptic lesions
6. 2 people receive kidney transplants in pilot program using CMU software
7. New Software for Defibrillators Lowers Risk of Unnecessary Shocks
8. Research aims to improve speech recognition software
9. Kinnser is First Home Health Software Provider to Utilize the iPad for Point of Care Connectivity
10. FileHold Document Management Software Announces Significant Enhancements and Support for all New Microsoft Platforms
11. Vedero Software Announces Partnership with Smart Energy Cloud for Automated Demand Response
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Somerset Hills is proud to ... unique items from across the nation, this holiday-themed event will raise funds and awareness ... VNA. The boutique will be open Saturday, November 4 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... , ... October 13, 2017 , ... Yisrayl Hawkins, Pastor ... that explains one of the most popular and least understood books in the Holy ... and puzzling descriptions that have baffled scholars for centuries. Many have tossed it off ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... ... Journey: From the Mountains to the Mission Field”: the story of a missionary couple ... From the Mountains to the Mission Field” is the creation of published author, Carole ... and currently teaches a class of ladies at her church, which she has taught ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, ... ... and Dr. Cheng, are now treating sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus ... sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... IsoComforter, Inc. ( https://isocomforter.com ... the introduction of an innovative new design of the shoulder pad. The shoulder ... maximum comfort while controlling your pain while using cold therapy. By utilizing ice and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)...  South Korean-based healthcare product Development Company I.M. Lab ... Kickstarter. The device will educate the user about ,proper, ... efficiency compared to the dated and pricey CPR training ... of the compression for a more informed CPR training. ... raise $5,000. cprCUBE ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... Mich. , Oct. 2, 2017 Diplomat ... 8th Day Software and Consulting, LLC , and ... 8th Day Software, based in Tennessee ... LLC. 8th Day expands EnvoyHealth,s service offerings for health ... development. "In an ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... , Oct. 2, 2017 Halo Labs announces the European ... system called the HORIZON at MIBio 2017 in Cambridge, ... and visible particulate matter in biopharmaceutical samples with unprecedented speed and ... the novel technique Backgrounded Membrane Imaging. ... The HORIZON subvisible particle analysis system ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: