IndiFon – Individual, interactive hearing assistance on the telephone

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The IndiFon project addresses the growing need for individual hearing assistance in telephone applications. On the one hand, use of communications systems is already considerably restricted for approximately 13 million people in Germany with hearing loss. On the other hand, using the telephone in a noisy environment – for example in a call center or when on the move with a cell phone – is often tiring and cognitively stressful even for people with clinically normal hearing. The goal of the IndiFon project is therefore to develop intelligent methods that do not just optimize the speech intelligibility of the telephone signal to the hearing of the individual user, but also adapt it to the current ambient situation. To achieve this, hearing assistance algorithms are linked to an automatic analysis of the hearing environment. While users can adjust the general sound processing parameters to their individual hearing needs themselves, the adaptation of the signal to the current acoustic conditions ideally takes place automatically. During the project, the researched methods will be integrated directly into prototype telephone end devices and evaluated with users in real application scenarios.

Responsibilities of Fraunhofer IDMT

The Fraunhofer IDMT's Oldenburg Branch for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology HSA is responsible for developing algorithms that optimize the audio signal to the sound preferences of individual users and compensate for disturbing background noise in real time. The signal processing strategies will be developed in together with end users and subsequently evaluated in specific application scenarios.

The project IndiFon is funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Hearing Assistance for Telephone and Consumer Electronics

The Fraunhofer researchers develop adaptation methods and user interfaces so that persons with both normal and impaired hearing can adjust the audio output to their personal hearing needs themselves at any time.