Improving Hearing Aids through Lip Reading Technology

Posted on September 9, 2015. Filed under: hearing education, hearing health | Tags: , , , |

Hearing aids are essential for people with hearing loss. However, there are major advances needed in order for users to be able to exist with today’s world. There have been some minor improvements added such as microphones, power efficiency and nose filtering. Still, one of the many challenges people with hearing aids face are scenarios that have a significant amount of noise. A person with full hearing is able to pick out and listen to a voice. Yet, those with hearing aids cannot do this. There is loss of information about where sound is coming from and causes them to removes their hearing aids.

What helps deaf people be able to hear, other than hearing aid, is lip reading. Therefore, a team at Stirling University is looking to make improvements through lip-reading technology. By using the human body as inspiration, they are able to see how it reacts to deal with noisy situations. Their vision is for a body worn hearing aid linked to a small wearable camera on glasses or jewelry. It would process the camera’s video stream and relevant information.

The data used from the hearing aid could work in several ways. It could reduce the general background noise reduction filtering. As well as identify the direction the voice is coming from and focus a directional microphone accordingly. However there are some challenges that come with lip reading technology. One is that it has to be able to deal with multiple speakers at once and sound that isn’t in front of it. Not to mention that people generally don’t stand motionless as they are talking. Their solution is to view human situations. The more noisy the environment, the more we tend to read lips. The end goal is to design a system that improves users ability to understand what someone is saying in a variety of environments. It would solve real world problems motivated by the way we think, hear and see.

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