Connecting phone and hearing aid
Researchers at Eriksholm Research Centre dream of hearing aids that adjust itself completely according to the needs of the user. One step in that direction is to gather user data from 10 test subjects. This is the first time anyone continuously over months have collected data capturing both how the devices perceive the changing sound environments, as well the corresponding program, settings, and volume preferences of users. Running the tests over longer time and in the test subjects’ real environment rather than in a lab makes it possible to learn individual preferences that may change throughout the day depending on not only the context but also the intents or cognitive state of the user.
The experimental setup was based on a smartphone app which collects data from the hearing aid via bluetooth. The app enables the user to choose between four programs providing alternative amplification settings. Dependent on the context, the user may prefer to increase clearness to facilitate speech intelligibility, enhance soft sounds to intensify the perceived loudness, or conversely reduce the background noise. That is, some programmes may provide more spatial cues enabling the user to shift his attention to separate sounds, while others improve the signal to noise ratio by attenuating ambient sounds. Thus, the user may change programmes throughout the day according to what situation they are in.
The hearing aids used are from our international research project EVOTION, which you can read more about here: http://h2020evotion.eu/