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BioAid app turns the iPhone into a hearing aid

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March 28, 2013

BioAid is a free app that allows the iPhone to work as a user-adjustable hearing aid

BioAid is a free app that allows the iPhone to work as a user-adjustable hearing aid

It’s so obvious when you think about it. The iPhone has a microphone, a computer that can process audio, and earphones – why not use it as hearing aid? That’s just what a group of scientists from the University of Essex have done, with their BioAid app. It has the potential to replace thousand-dollar hearing aids with a free download ... as long as users don’t mind keeping their phone close at hand.

BioAid works with the iPhone (it’s optimized for the iPhone 5), iPod touch and iPad. Once users have installed the app, they start by going through a setup procedure in which they determine the settings that best address their particular type of hearing loss. There are six fixed settings to choose from, each one of which has four fine-tuning sub-settings. These allow users to target the specific frequencies that they have difficulty hearing.

No hearing tests or visits to hearing aid specialists are required.

The app doesn’t simply boost all audio levels within a given frequency, however, as that would make loud sounds extra unpleasant. This boosting of already-loud sounds is one of the reasons that some hearing aid-users avoid noisy settings such as social gatherings, or simply choose not to use their hearing aids.

Instead, BioAid is able to bring up low sounds, while turning down loud noises in the user’s earphones. It’s inspired by the biology that allows the human ear to do the same sort of thing, hence its name.

Down the road, it’s hoped that BioAid could be incorporated into tiny behind-the-ear devices or smartwatches, and that its settings could be tweaked remotely by people such as audiologists. For now, though, a beta version is available free of charge on iTunes.

Source: University of Essex, BioAid

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
5 Comments

The cost of hearing aids is a rort that needs to be broken. Hearing aid companies will unite to oppose this innovation

nutcase
1st April, 2013 @ 05:30 pm PDT

There is a similar software program combined with actual hearing aids in Australia:

http://www.blameysaunders.com.au/ihearyou-system

It has been available for a few years now and also allows users to adjust tones themselves via PC. The system is less expensive then a number of other systems, but still costs a fair bit.

Maybe, the two should talk?

AW
3rd April, 2013 @ 01:11 am PDT

This app is really amazing. Audicus also has a list of other hearing aid apps, found here: http://www.audicus.com/blogs/hearing-aids-blog/6071788-the-top-6-mobile-apps-for-hearing-aids-and-hearing-loss

Audicus
16th April, 2013 @ 02:07 pm PDT

Is there an Android version of this program? I would like to try it to compare with my hearing aids.

Jeff Goldstein
26th December, 2013 @ 07:37 pm PST

Readers may also be interested in the new "TV Louder" app for iPhone and iPad, which was just released a few minutes ago. It uses the iPhone microphone to listen to the TV, filters out noise, and then plays the TV sound back louder through the headphones. Let's you keep the TV volume lower.

Andy Berlin
25th January, 2014 @ 09:18 am PST
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