Skip to main content
Site News: Menu update scheduledAccessibility  |  About  |  Contact  |  Privacy  |  Terms

Smartphone Technology to Improve Hearing Devices

  • Published: 2015-02-06 (Revised/Updated 2015-03-18) : University of Texas at Dallas (www.utdallas.edu).
  • Synopsis: Harnessing the power of smartphones to improve life of people who use hearing assistive devices including hearing aids, cochlear implants and personal sound amplifiers.
Personal Sound Amplifiers

Also known as "Personal Sound Amplification Devices," or by the acronym PSAP, are defined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as wearable electronic products that are intended to amplify sounds for people who are not hearing impaired. They are not hearing aids, which the FDA describes as intended to compensate for impaired hearing. PSAPs can be a useful alternative to a hearing aid.

Main Document

Quote: "Current hearing aids don't enhance speech signals optimally in an automatic manner. The success of this project will open the door to the development of a wide collection of smartphone apps to be used in conjunction with hearing aid devices."

Many scientists agree: The smartphone offers many applications and has become one of the most sophisticated technologies out there.

With the support of a $522,000, two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, a UT Dallas team wants to harness the power of smartphones to help improve the quality of life of people who wear hearing assistive devices (HAD), including hearing aids, cochlear implants and personal sound amplifiers.

"Current hearing assistive devices are able to fit inside or behind the ear, but come with small, not very powerful processors to keep the device small, low power and low cost," said Dr. Issa Panahi, associate professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science and principal investigator of the research.

"On the other hand, smartphones used by billions of people have very powerful processors and other features such as large memories, microphones, speakers, wireless technology and long-lasting batteries that could aid HAD wearers."

Dr. Issa Panahi, associate professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering, is part of a UT Dallas research team looking to tap into the power of smartphones to boost the quality of hearing assistive devices. Photo: University of Texas at Dallas
About This Image: Dr. Issa Panahi, associate professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering, is part of a UT Dallas research team looking to tap into the power of smartphones to boost the quality of hearing assistive devices. Photo: University of Texas at Dallas
"Current hearing aids don't enhance speech signals optimally in an automatic manner. The success of this project will open the door to the development of a wide collection of smartphone apps to be used in conjunction with hearing aid devices." Dr. Issa Panahi,associate professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science HAD algorithms can differentiate between a limited number of noises, Panahi said. More sophisticated algorithms are needed to cover more types of background noise signals, and these algorithms for noise classification and speech enhancement require more powerful processors and additional power consumption - the capabilities that smartphones can provide.

UT Dallas researchers are especially interested in the automatic classification of various background noise signals and enhancement of both quality and intelligibility of speech signals in noisy environments and crowded places.

"Current hearing aids don't enhance speech signals optimally in an automatic manner," Panahi said. "The success of this project will open the door to the development of a wide collection of smartphone apps to be used in conjunction with hearing aid devices."

The research team also includes Dr. Nasser Kehtarnavaz, professor of electrical engineering in the Jonsson School, and Dr. Linda Thibodeau, a professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences and member of the Callier Center for Communications Disorders.

"We are lucky at UT Dallas that we have the Callier Center," Panahi said. "Not many universities have the technological, signal processing, real-time algorithm development, and engineering capabilities and experiences, as well as expertise in clinical testing and interfacing with HAD users in one place."

Similar Topics

1 - Libby App Enables Free Ebooks and Audiobooks From the Library - Rakuten OverDrive.
2 - Mobile Phone App to Control Diabetes May be Possible Someday - Rutgers University.
3 - eSSENTIAL Accessibility New Android App for People with Disabilities - eSSENTIAL Accessibility.
4 - Sharecare YOU 3D VR Human Body Platform on HTC VIVE - Sharecare.
5 - Google Glass Holli App Assists Social Interactions for Children with ASD - Frontiers.
From our Disability and Health Apps section - Full List (113 Items)

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.


Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.


Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.


List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.


Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.



1 - Study Reveals Pancreatic Cancer Accelerated by Stress
2 - Micah Fowler of ABCs Speechless to be Honored at Art of Care Gala
3 - Sensory Interneurons from Stem Cells Enable the Sense of Touch
4 - Epileptic Seizures and Depression May Share Common Genetic Cause
5 - The Cost of Freedom & I Served My Country by Teresa Gail Carver Godin



Citation


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.