Hearing

Personalizing Hearing Care and Enhancing User Experience by Adapting Devices to the Changing Mobile Context

Hearing impairment is a growing health- and wellbeing challenge both at a personal and a societal level. This project explores the use of hearing aids, smartphones and mobile devices to personalise hearing aids to the individual.

Background

Hearing impairments have an impact on both the society and the individual. For the individual hearing loss may lead to a withdrawal from social life, cognitive decline [Rönnberg et. al. 2011] and risk of dementia [Lin et. al. 2011]. A recent report estimated that the overall economic burden associated with hearing loss to be £30 billion per year alone in the UK [Archbold 2014]. 
Today hearing impairment is associated with an aging population, in the future this will change. A rising number of adolescents [Shargorodsky 2010] as well as a large segment of people already in their 40s [Curhan 2010] are struggling to interact in distracting open office environments and in everyday environments characterized by ubiquitous background noise.

Project Objectives

Despite two decades of fierce innovation with digital hearing devices, most fitting of hearing devices is still limited to measurement of audiogram, followed by a standard fitting with limited possibility for fine tuning at follow up meetings between hearing impaired users and audiologists. Thus, while hearing devices enables increasingly personalization, time constraints prevents clinical practice from utilizing new possibilities to full extent. Furthermore, the predicted demographic increase in hearing impaired users further limits the available resources.

To address the above challenges the present project will explore how to transform what used to be stand‐alone hearing aids into internet of things (IoT) connected devices, in order to personalize the fitting process based on the user’s inferred context, and longer term optimize device settings by learning from “big data” generated by thousands of users. Potentially offering a platform to develop new types of augmented hearing apps and personalized healthcare integrating data from wearables.

This project aims to optimise the user experience by applying a multi-device design combining wearables and smartphones, enabling discreet haptic system notifications and instant user feedback on suggested hearing aid settings. The project will focus on prototype designs that continuously capture usage scenarios, in order to provide a direct feedback loop for learning recurring patterns and adapting the device settings to the inferred behavioural context.

References

  • Archbold et al. (2014) The Real Cost of Adult Hearing Loss. Tech report The Ear Foundation.
  • Curhan et al. (2010) Analgesic use and the risk of hearing loss in men. The American journal of medicine, 123(3), 231–­237.
  • Lin et al. (2011). Hearing loss and incident dementia. Arch. Neurol, 68,214–220.
  • Rönnberg et al. (2011) Hearing loss is negatively related to episodic and semantic long-term memory but not to short-term memory. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 54.2: 705–726.
  • Shargorodsky et al. (2010) Change in prevalence of hearing loss in US adolescents. Jama, 304(7), 772–778.

Contact

Jakob Eg Larsen
Associate Professor
DTU Compute
+45 45 25 52 65

Contact

Niels Henrik Pontoppidan
Research Area Manager, Advanced Algorithms
Eriksholm Research Center

Contact

Benjamin Johansen
PhD student
DTU Compute
http://www.cachet.dk/research/PhD-Projects/hearing-care
12 DECEMBER 2017