Transmission losses and background noise can considerably impair speech intelligibility when making calls on a cell phone – particularly for people who suffer from hearing loss. Hearing research scientists have now developed an app for the iPhone that improves speech intelligibility for internet phone calls made using Voice over IP technology.
The app AuditoryVoIP is available initially for the iPhone
In addition to allowing adjustment of loudness and sound settings to meet individual preferences, the app is also able to compensate for hearing loss. The technology was developed by the Oldenburg Project Group for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT.Individual sound adjustment without a hearing test
»The new feature of our technology is that the telephone signal is not optimized to a standard technical value, but to the user’s personal hearing preferences. With our solution, it does not matter whether a person with normal hearing has certain sound preferences or whether the user suffers from a medically diagnosed hearing impairment,« explains Jan Rennies from the Project Group Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology. »However, AuditoryVoIP does not have the functional scope of a hearing aid. The technology is specifically optimized for the frequency range of a telephone signal.«Around 50 million people with untreated hearing loss in Europe
»Poor speech intelligibility usually has to be compensated by higher concentration. This mental strain can lead to fatigue and reduced performance at work,« says Professor Birger Kollmeier, head of the project group and spokesperson for cluster of excellence »Hearing4all« at the University of Oldenburg, explaining the motivation for development of the technology. »It is also important that the sense of hearing remains in active use – like with muscles. If the sense of hearing is not stimulated, its ability to function properly decreases. If a person does not use hearing assistance technology for too long when hearing loss starts, they will find it much more difficult later on to get accustomed to and benefit from a hearing aid.«
AuditoryVoIP is marketed by Hörtech gGmbH as a product of the »AuditoryValley« research and development network and is available initially for the iPhone. A paid access account with an internet telephony provider is required in order to use the app.About the Project Group Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT
The goal of the Project Group for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology of the Fraunhofer IDMT is to implement scientific findings on auditory perception of normal and impaired hearing in technological applications. Scientists carry out applied research and development on behalf of industrial companies and public institutions in the fields of telecommunications, multimedia, health and care services, building technology, transport, industrial production and security. The project group was established in Oldenburg in 2008 as a branch of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT. Through scientific cooperations, it has close links with the hearing research facilities in Oldenburg and is also partner in the cluster of excellence »Hearing4all«.About Auditory Valley
Julia Hallebach | Fraunhofer-Institut
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