Last week, I interviewed Dr. Leslie Saxon, executive director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Body Computing, who talked extensively about multidisciplinary collaboration. Well, check out what happens when you get medical professionals and engineers together.
As the Wall Street Journal reports this week, otolaryngologists, audiologists and sound engineers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong have teamed with a Hong Kong software firm Ximplar to develop a smartphone app that could replace the humble hearing aid.
The product, called ACEHearing, goes far beyond just amplifying sound, the way hearing aids used to annoy your grandparents. It adjusts sound output to fill in gaps in the sound spectrum based on each user’s unique hearing profile. According to the Journal, Ximplar has clinical trials showing no significant difference between ACEHearing’s smartphone-based hearing test and one given by an audiologist. I can’t find the evidence myself, but I imagine someone is working on getting a study published in an academic journal.
Ximplar and the Chinese University of Hong Kong apparently are not marketing ACEHearing as a full replacement for the hearing aid—more of an alternative for when the user is on the phone to help eliminate the noisy interference telephones often cause in traditional hearing aids. But the Journal says the developers are looking at embedding the ACEHearing firmware in other consumer products such as headsets and MP3 players. Given how often some have their earbuds in, wouldn’t this seem like a great alternative to an unsightly hearing aid, especially for younger hearing-impaired people? Keep reading>>