Enhanced user experience with learning hearing devices
The fitting of a hearing aids is the result of a dialogue between the user and the audiologist. Today users must learn how to use their hearing device. Furthermore, they need to remember and describe situations where it helped and where it could have helped more to be able to. Now, imagine re-inventing the experience and let the hearing aid collect sound scene descriptions and user ratings. Design the optimal user experience for teaching the hearing aid what the user needs in different situations and the dashboard for the audiologist to utilize this information in enhanced fitting procedure!
Hearing aids, and other hearing devices such as cochlear implants, are among the most demanding wearables available on market. They are special and demanding since the users wear and rely on their hearing aids to understand speech in many challenging sound environments throughout their everyday activities.
The audiologist initiates the fitting process starts by measuring the pure tone thresholds that describe how much amplification weak sounds should receive. This is the first level of simple personalization and is followed by adjusting the rules for how the hearing aid should react in different situations. After some time the user returns for a follow-up session adjusting the parameters as a result of a verbal dialogue. The challenge targets continuous follow-up period enriched by data, whilst saving the verbal dialogue for other questions regarding the use of hearing aids.
Technological details, market descriptions, company description, etc
Oticon Alta2 includes all of Oticon’s BrainHearing™ technologies. These are designed to support your brain and help it make sense of sound with less effort. This makes understanding easier, allowing you to engage fully in conversations and enjoy more of life’s situations. The ground breaking features Speech Guard E, Spatial Sound Premium, Soft Speech Booster, and Free Focus are building blocks that deliver the audiological benefits. On top of this, YouMatic, the automation, constantly monitors the sound environment, activates, and adjusts the setting of the different features.
The automation in hearing aids takes place on three time scales
- Instantaneous (<10 ms), when adjusting amplification to preserve loudness
- On the fly (~few seconds) when choosing a feature for the current listening environment
- Long term (>weeks) when adjusting the rules for choosing different features or monitoring hearing
From a user perspective the challenge focuses on collecting input that enhances the selection of features for the current listening environment. From the audiologist perspective the challenge focuses on the longer term adjustments to the hearing aid automation rules.
The challenge is less about instantaneous changes, and not about inventing new algorithms for speech processing.
While acknowledging that future generations of hearing aids are likely to have improved IT skills do consider the limitations of the current population of hearing device users.
Even if the same problems arise with cochlear implants, the focus of this challenge is limited to hearing aids.
500 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. It is Oticon’s ambition that our customers – hearing clinics throughout the world – prefer to use our products for people with impaired hearing. Oticon is among the three largest companies in the industry, and in Denmark all 1,400 employees, with passion, dedication and professional expertise, develop the most innovative hearing aids in the world. Oticon is a growing company, and 97% of Group revenues is generated outside Denmark. We are part of William Demant Holding Group with more than 9.000 employees and revenues of over DKK 9 billion.
Oticon offers the wining team an internship/master project in continuation of the challenge with Hearing aids R&D in Smørum and Eriksholm Research Centre in Snekkersten. Here the winners get privileged access to audiologists, developers, researchers, prototypes, and proprietary API’s.