A project in Thailand has lead to the development of Hearing Rescue, a hearing aid that doubles-up as a vibrating bracelet to alert users of danger.
Almost all deaf people remove their hearing aids at night due to their discomfortable, despite 70 percent of most household dangers happening at night while people are asleep. In response to this worrying fact, the Thai Health Wellbeing Project got together with the Deaf Association of Bangkok and developed the Hearing Rescue.
It’s the world’s first hearing aid that’s been programmed with noise-detection software to recognise sounds of danger (such as alarm, sirens, dogs barking) and then wakes the user up. The designers started by taking a standard hearing aid – which functions as a regular amplifier – but one which can be taken out of the ear and attached to the user’s wrist like a bracelet. Once night mode is activated, it’ll vibrate if it hears any of the danger sounds it’s coded to listen for. It’s clever enough to spot soundwaves at different patterns and works from 60 decibels upwards.
They’re available to pre-order now for USD 200 a unit, which sounds like a good deal for such added peace of mind (and is cheaper than a lot of high end Fitbits). Other recent initiatives that help the deaf are the Lipnet, which uses AI to lip read with greater accuracy than people, and this Sound Shirt which turns music into vibrations. What other ways can we improve the lives of those with impaired hearing?