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Hearing


— Health and Wellbeing

Wear takes a fashionable approach to hearing aids

From hiding hearing aids in your mouth to having them built-in to the arms of your glasses, we have seen some innovative efforts to assist those with hearing difficulties in recent years. With these unobtrusive technologies available, you might think that wearing a hearing aid around your neck would be the least desirable of options. Yet the team behind Wear believe that by favoring comfort and aesthetics over discretion, it may have conceived a viable alternative. Read More
— Good Thinking

BioAid app turns the iPhone into a 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. Read More
— Science

Scientists use 3D printer and cartilage cells to create artificial ears

When a child is born with the congenital deformity known as microtia, they have an underdeveloped external ear – also known as the pinna. Even though their inner ear may be normal, the lack of the external structure can affect their hearing, plus it looks unusual. Normally, a replacement pinna is made from a foam-like material (or sometimes even cartilage from the rib cage) and implanted under the skin, although these don’t always look particularly natural. Now, scientists from Cornell University have developed a more realistic pinna grown from biological material, using a 3D printer. Read More
— Medical

Researchers restore hearing in mammals by regenerating auditory hair cells

There is new hope for those of us who have overindulged in loud bands and dread the prospect of old age spent with an ear trumpet clamped to the sides of our heads. Researchers from Massachusetts Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School have been able to stimulate resident auditory hair cells to become new ones, resulting in partial hearing recovery in mice whose hearing has been damaged by noise trauma. Read More
— Robotics

Honda's HEARBO robot has excellent hearing

A team led by Kazuhiro Nakadai at Honda Research Institute-Japan (HRI-JP) is improving how robots process and understand sound. The robot, aptly called HEARBO (HEARing roBOt), can parse four sounds (including voices) at once, and can tell where the sounds are coming from. The system, called HARK, could allow future robot servants to better understand verbal commands from several meters away. Read More
— Electronics

Ear-powered medical devices in development

Our ears work by converting the vibrations of the eardrum into electrochemical signals that can be interpreted by the brain. The current for those signals is supplied by an ion-filled chamber deep within the inner ear – it’s essentially a natural battery. Scientists are now looking at using that battery to power devices that could be implanted in the ear, without affecting the recipient’s hearing. Read More
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