Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

Speech-analytic hearing aids for the profoundly deaf in Europe

People with profound hearing impairment are helped only a little by conventional amplifying hearing aids, especially in the presence of reverberation and noise. Modern digital signal processing techniques offer the hope of improved devices which select the elements of speech essential to communication and present them as sounds adapted to the remaining hearing capability of the user. The STRIDE project has developed this concept to produce prototype hearing aids, assessed their performance in multi-language field trials, and researched the potential for commercial products.

The new type of hearing aid developed, known as a SiVo hearing aid, selects and amplifies only the perceptually important components of speech, which are used by profoundly deaf people as auditory cues to lip reading. The prototype SiVo aid was validated by field trials in four countries (using different language environments), and its effectiveness was compared with that of conventional aids. The outcome was that the prototype hearing aid was of benefit to the members of the test group with the most profound hearing impairment. The results also indicate that techniques developed in the STRIDE project may be extended to produce hearing aids that will benefit a wider range of users.

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