Citizens develop individualised wearables for the ear together with researchers from the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg

News / 14.6.2018

In the citizen science project »Hear How You Like To Hear!«, people with and without hearing impairments are designing new types of intelligent hearing aids, what are known as hearables, together with researchers from the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg. Their involvement ranges from user tests to the programming of algorithms for personal hearing preferences. Invitation to the hackathon at Fab Lab Berlin from 29.06. to 01.07.2018.

Together, citizens and scientists are exploring wearables for the ear, known as »hearables«, which can be designed as desired in terms of both sound and appearance. Consumer products are at the heart of the project.
© CC BY-NC-ND 4.0, Peggy Sylopp/Fraunhofer IDMT

Together, citizens and scientists are exploring wearables for the ear, known as »hearables«, which can be designed as desired in terms of both sound and appearance. Consumer products are at the heart of the project.

Do-It-Yourself: Tinker, programme or simply try for yourself. In the »Hear How You Like To Hear« project, citizens are working on the next generation of hearing aids, hearables etc. In workshops and hackathons, the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg together with »makers and doers«  use simple technical means to test individualised everyday solutions for better hearing.
© CC BY-SA 3.0 DE, Marc René Schädler

Do-It-Yourself: Tinker, programme or simply try for yourself. In the »Hear How You Like To Hear« project, citizens are working on the next generation of hearing aids, hearables etc. In workshops and hackathons, the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg together with »makers and doers« use simple technical means to test individualised everyday solutions for better hearing.

Oldenburg/Berlin, 14 June 2018. How should my hearing aid sound, feel or look so that it matches my personal requirements? What comfort can my intelligent headset offer in order to accompany me as best as possible in everyday life? How can a wearable for the ear be designed so that it can be personalised in an ideal way?

These are the questions being asked by people who want to contribute to better hearing, regardless of whether they themselves or persons around them suffer from limited hearing. And they are asking these questions alongside researchers from the Branch Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Oldenburg. Because hearing aids continue to be a technological challenge and are a taboo for many individuals, compared to spectacles, for example, that can even be an expression of our personality.

»The objective of our research is to give fresh impetus to the development of assistive listening devices, what are referred to as hearables, and to focus on people’s wellbeing in the process,« says Peggy Sylopp of the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg. »We want to make people with hearing impairments more self-confident and encourage greater awareness in their social environment. That’s why we’re conducting our research work not in the laboratory but instead primarily in everyday settings.«

»In the »Hear How You Like To Hear« project, for the first time citizens are actively engaging in research into assistive listening devices at the interface between medical care and consumer electronics. In this project, users and scientists are joining forces to think about systems and supply routes from a new approach. In this way, we’re entering into a close dialogue with citizens, in which not only the perspective of people with hearing impairments is directly incorporated in our research work but also that of people with a technical interest and special hearing or listening requirements,« adds Dr. Jens-E. Appell, Head of Department, Branch Hearing Speech and Audio Technology of the Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg.

Self-determined hearing for people with and without hearing impairments

What exactly is the project about? Together, citizens and scientists are exploring wearable hearing aids, known as »hearables«, which can be designed as desired in terms of both sound and appearance. What is understood by hearables is intelligent devices that are worn on the body and in the first instance used for hearing and listening. Examples are Bluetooth headsets, in-ear monitors for musicians but also hearing aids. Recent developments integrate sensors such as motion detectors and pulse oximeters that can provide smart analyses and prognoses with the help of algorithms. In hackathons, experts from areas such as design, hearing aid acoustics, sound art or IT development create ideas for a new generation of hearing aids. Consumer products are at the heart of the project. The project results are presented to the public via all types of media channel on a continuous basis as well as at the end of the project.

Welcome! Take part in the Hearable Hackathon in Berlin!

»What does the word ‘hearable’ make you think of? How do you imagine the future of hearing and how does it feel? What is important for you in everyday life?« To get to the bottom of these questions, the »Hear How You Like To Hear” project at Fraunhofer IDMT in Oldenburg invites everyone with an interest to come to Fab Lab Berlin and take part in the Hearable Hackathon. The event starts on Friday, 29.06.2018. A jury will commend the three best ideas at the end of the hackathon on Sunday, 01.07.2018.

Whatever their speciality - IT, design or sound - it is up to the participants in this hackathon whether they focus on individualised solutions for everyday use, create new designs or let their imagine run wild and dream up futuristic ideas. Laser cutters, 3D printers, modelling material and tools are available on site.

We will publish the winners as well as the ideas not awarded prizes on the Fraunhofer IDMT website, the citizen science platform »Bürger schaffen Wissen« and Careable.org.

Venue:
Fab Lab Berlin
Prenzlauer Allee 242
D-10405 Berlin

Please register by 27.06.2018. Registration is binding. Participation is free of charge and food and drinks are provided!

More information about the project and subscription to our monthly newsletter can be found on the project website.

The project is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in the framework of its “Citizen Science” funding line. It is one of 13 projects up until the end of 2019 that will advance cooperation between citizens and scientists both in terms of content and methodologies and produce answers to social challenges.

 

About the Branch Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Oldenburg

The objective of the Branch Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT is to transpose scientific findings related to hearing perception in normal and impaired hearing into technological applications. Its applied research priorities are the enhancement of speech intelligibility, personalised audio reproduction and computer-based acoustic speech and event detection. Our application fields include consumer electronics, transport, the automotive sector, industrial production, safety, telecommunications and healthcare.

The branch was set up in Oldenburg in 2008 as a field office of the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT. Through scientific partnerships, it has close links with the Carl von Ossietzky University, Jade University and other institutions in Oldenburg engaged in hearing research. It is also a partner in the »Hearing4all« Cluster of Excellence.