Hearing aids cost thousands of dollars and are not covered by medicare nor many insurance plans. Thus they are not available to a large segment of the population. This project will research and test the use of wireless technology coupled with a smartphone to create the equivalent of an individually customized hearing aid for the slight and moderately hearing impaired.
The results will be published on the web at the website smarthearing.org, and otherwise publicized.
Here is the idea in a nutshell. There are various aps now that help the hearing impaired, also wireless earphones and equalizers are available for smartphone audio. However such devices and set-up are not generally known and set-up requires a certain level of inventiveness on the part of the individual.(For example, in Katherine Bouton's recent and otherwise very thorough book about the hard-of-hearing, Shouting Won't Help, no mention is made of smartphone aps for hearing improvement).The purpose of this project is to define a simple procedure for combining existing technologies in a workable way to create a smartphone hearing aid, and then publicize the findings in order to make such hearing devices much more available for the hard of hearing community.
The moderately hearing impaired person will simply turn on a smartphone with the appropriate ap and equalizer and hear through a wireless listening device the outside world, amplified and enhanced for his/her particular hearing.
This will make custom hearing devices available at very reasonable cost for many--reducing the cost from thousands to a few hundred. For those already with a smartphone--very little indeed.
Aspects to be researched.
- Review existing aps available.
- Research types of wireless listening devices available.
- Arrive at a workable inexpensive set-up,
- Write clear specific instructions.
- Create a website and publish the finding at the website,
Risks and challenges
I do not foresee particular problems in carrying out this initial project because it is researching what is currently available and then connecting the dots, coming up with a workable set-up and then publicizing it. I do foresee various challenges in a future phase two project where it becomes necessary to apply the findings to numerous smartphone platforms, in order to increase applicability. It may also become apparent from this initial project that more useful aps need to be developed, better microphones, wireless headphones, and so forth. Also it will be necessary to increase public awareness through added advertizing in hard-of-hearing, senior, and other targeted venues. .Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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