Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New Dutch invention: Varibel, the glasses that hear

07.04.2006

These hearing-glasses are called ’Varibel’ and offer older people the chance to stay active longer - free from the aesthetically unpleasing and technologically limited traditional hearing aids. In each leg of the glass’ frame there is a row of four tiny, interconnected microphones, which selectively intensify the sounds that come from the front, while dampening the surrounding noise. The result is a directional sensitivity of +8.2 dB. In comparison, regular hearing aids have a maximum sensitivity of +4 dB.


Today a new hearing aid in the form of a pair of glasses was unveiled. These hearing-glasses are called ’Varibel’ and offer older people the chance to stay active longer - free from the aesthetically unpleasing and technologically limited traditional hearing aids. Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands originally developed the hearing-glasses. Varibel developed these glasses into a consumer product in partnership with Philips, Frame Holland, the design agencies MMID and Verhoeven, and others.

Approximately 1,265,000 people in the Netherlands over the age of 60 are hearing impaired. Of these, half 22% (or around 275,000 people) use a hearing aid, but it is not always possible to hear others well if there is surrounding noise. Many hearing aids intensify sounds from all directions. The result is that people hear noise, but not the people they are speaking to. Because people have such difficulty understanding what others are saying, many people - in spite of their hearing aid - have less social contact with others or must retire from their jobs earlier than desired. The hearing-glasses can provide a solution to this problem, say the experts and users who have tried and tested the Varibel.

The Varibel cannot be compared to traditional hearing aids. In each leg of the glass’ frame there is a row of four tiny, interconnected microphones, which selectively intensify the sounds that come from the front, while dampening the surrounding noise. The result is a directional sensitivity of +8.2 dB. In comparison, regular hearing aids have a maximum sensitivity of +4 dB. With this solution, the user can separate the desired sounds from the undesired background noise. Dr. Cor Stengs, ENT specialist involved in the clinical tests, said of the Varibel: "Practical experience with the hearing-glasses supports the theoretical claims that the ability to understand speech is much better. There is a significant improvement in the sound quality.”

With Varibel, natural sounds can still be heard. This solution allows people to hear naturally and clearly in the direction in which they are looking. This has great advantages for daily life. Martin de Jong, audio-technician, says: "With the Varibel, the natural sounds that people enjoy are retained. This works surprisingly well. People can hear good and at the same time clearly – and especially in rooms such as in a cafe or at a birthday party."

The development of Varibel was made possible by a developmental loan from the Dutch Ministry of Finance. The STW Technology Foundation financed the research of the Delft University of Technology on the hearing-glasses and supported Varibel with the development of patent protection.

Maarten van der Sanden | alfa
Further information:
http://www.varibel.nl
http://www.tudelft.nl

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht See-Through Sensors Open New Window Into the Brain
22.10.2014 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

nachricht Exploring X-Ray phase tomography with synchrotron radiation
21.10.2014 | American Institute of Physics

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Comparing Apples and Oranges? A Colloquium on International Comparative Urban Research

22.10.2014 | Event News

Battery Conference April 2015 in Aachen

16.10.2014 | Event News

Experts discuss new developments in the field of stem cell research and cell therapy

10.10.2014 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's TRMM Satellite Calculates Hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo Rainfall

23.10.2014 | Earth Sciences

New 3D Display Technology Promises Greater Energy Efficiency

23.10.2014 | Power and Electrical Engineering

World population likely to peak by 2070

23.10.2014 | Social Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>