Around 360 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss, according to the World Health Organisation.
Access to hearing aid technology is low at best, but in poorer countries the situation is dire.
A group of engineering students in Argentina
have developed a hearing tool that operates through a smartphone app called uSound .
The system captures the ambient sound and then adjusts the frequencies and adapts them to the users specific hearing difficulties or capabilities.
Dr.Victorio Stok is enthusiastic about the app:
“I don’t just think it works, I can confirm it works. We are already using it with our patients. We try the device out on a patient and the patient will be able to answer. The patient’s hearing is then examined without the uSound device and then given the same test with the app and the changes the patients undergo are striking.”
The users load their auditory test results, measured by a professional, into the smartphone and the app then optimises the sound and tailors it to the patients needs.
Julio Fernandez uses the device and after years of problems, caused by his hearing difficulties, he now has a new found confidence:“I had totally and completely isolated myself from society. I didn’t go out with friends. I would be too afraid to go to any type of get together with a group of people because I would feel so uncomfortable,” he said.
Julio has clearly benefited from the app and at a price far lower than any hearing aid.