Innovation That Matters

App turns iPhone into a hearing aid

Sport & Fitness

BioAid uses the microphone and headphone functions of smartphones to amplify the sounds around deaf users in real-time.

Many of those with hearing problems have consigned themselves to wearing a hearing aid – which can often be cumbersome and expensive. The SCS1000 smart watch has already made steps towards helping deaf people remain aware of their surroundings, and now UK-based project BioAid is harnessing the power of smartphones to provide an easier and cheaper way to amplify the sounds around them. The concept is quite a simple one: the app takes in sounds from the user’s surroundings using the iPhone’s built-in microphone, amplifies it using algorithms tailored to the user, and plays it back through either the loudspeaker or headphones in real-time. Users can configure the app using one of six settings to best suit their condition, which can then be fine tuned even further. Professor Ray Meddis – emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Essex, who is part of the team at BioAid – explains more about the project in the video below: While it’s true that the system currently requires the hard of hearing to keep their iPhones on them as well as use headphones, the team hope that – with advances such as smaller Bluetooth-enabled headphones and smart watches – that an app such as BioAid could become a feasible and inexpensive way to improve the quality of life of deaf people. For now, a beta version of the app is available for free on the App Store. Investors – one to get in on early? Spotted by: Murtaza Patel



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