Researchers at the University of Essex have developed a free mobile app that turns an iPhone or iPod into a hearing aid, using the phone’s microphone and a set of headphon.
Unlike standard hearing aids that simply amplify all sounds, the BioAid app is inspired by biology and replicates the complexities of the human ear. Its creators say it puts the user in control, is available to anyone, anywhere, without the need for a hearing test, and potentially holds the key to a future where tiny, phone-based hearing aids can be dispensed and adjusted remotely.
BioAid, which is available on iTunes, has been developed by Professor Ray Meddis of Essex’s Department of Psychology with Nick Clark, formerly a Research Officer in the Department and Dr Wendy Lecluyse of University Campus Suffolk. Unlike standard aids that have a single setting, BioAid has six fixed settings each of which has four fine-tuning settings allowing the user to find the perfect match for their deafness.
Professor Meddis explained: “It’s not inconceivable that we’ll wear phones on our wrist in the near future, or even as tiny devices behind the ear. With the BioAid algorithm and wi-fi technology, we could see dispensers able to remotely adjust the settings on a phone-based aid and even monitor use to ensure the user is getting the most out of it.”
The development of BioAid, which has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Phonak, is part of a research project to influence the future of hearing aids. The researchers want to hear about people’s experiences using BioAid so that they can continue to perfect the technology. Users can get in touch, and find further information at: http://bioaid.org.uk/.
Download BioAid, the biologically inspired hearing aid, at iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/bioaid/id577764716
Photo credit: Yuichirock
The Limping Chicken is supported by a range of charities and organisations linked to deafness, all of whom offer services that enhance deaf lives. Click on the images on the right-hand side of this site or go to our Supporter’s page to find out all about them!
The Limping Chicken is the UK’s deaf blogs and news website, and is the world’s most popular deaf blog. It is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
Please note that the views of the writers are their own, and not necessarily the views of the Editor or site as a whole. Read our disclaimer here.
- Phonak: innovative technology and products in hearing acoustics
- Ai-Media: Should sign language be taught in schools?
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- Clarion: BSL/English interpreting and employment services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- Signature: Find out about the Signature conference here.
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Hearing Direct: Online hearing aids
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Deaf Independent: Deaf care and support services
- Signworld: online BSL learning and teaching materials
- DCAL: Find out how to study at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre, London
- cSeeker: Deaf-led educational communication support service
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- Sarah Gatford: BSL interpreting, training and consultancy
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- Sign Solutions:, language and learning
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- deafPLUS: Money advice line in BSL
- Happy: Microsoft Office courses taught in BSL and SSE by a Deaf trainer – all abilities catered for
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Ozen: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children