Hearing at Home

Hearing at Home

Background

Problems with hearing are strongly linked to age. From the age of 40, hearing begins to gradually deteriorate; about 50% of all people over the age of 60 have varying degrees of hearing loss. The number of people in the EU with hearing loss will increase from 81 million in 2005 to 90 million in 2015 (about 14% of the total EU population, according to the Institute of Hearing Research (IHR) in the UK).

In everyday life, especially in the home environment, a number of problems arise for these individuals. Watching TV and radio programs is only possible with increased volume; this disturbs spouses, children and neighbors. When using headphones, however, the person is almost completely cut off from the environment. Important signals (doorbell, telephone, kitchen appliances) but also conversations with other people in the room are then hardly possible.

Approach

The project researches and develops the next generation of technical aids to enable the growing number of hearing impaired people to participate longer in the communication society.

HaH focuses on the needs of hearing impaired people in their home environment. Formerly individual devices (such as PC, HiFi system, TV, digital camera, telephone, fax, Internet connection and home automation) are brought together to be easily accessible via the TV as the central information platform. The TV thus becomes the central information center (HIC) via a set-top box (STB).

In the process, the audio signals are processed accordingly to offer the hearing-impaired person significantly better speech intelligibility. With the six European partners, the HaH project combines the complete expertise to develop research in "Supportive Audio Signal Processing" (SASP). Different mechanisms are addressed:

Excellent (and new) audio pre-processing (e.g. noise reduction, classification, speech enhancement).
Easily adaptable algorithms to compensate for individual hearing losses.
A synthetic face with facial expressions to enable lip reading.

Cooperation / Funding

The project was conducted between 12/2006 and 05/2009 at the OFFIS Health Division. It is funded by the European Union within the framework of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) for the Ageing Society. The official website can be reached at www.hearing-at-home.eu/

Publications

Müller, F.; Schulz, A.; Baumgartner, H.; Hein, A. (2010): Objektiv-subjektive Evaluation einer häuslichen Kommunikationsunterstützung. Tagungsband des 3. Deutschen AAL-Kongresses 2010, Paper 5.3, 5 Seiten.

Schulz, A.; Baumgartner, H.; Müller, F.; Hein, A. (2009): Eine Multimediazentrale als Hörunter­stützung im häuslichen Umfeld. Tagungsband zur GI-Jahrestagung 2009, Seiten 910-924.

Baumgartner, H., Schulz, A., Hein, A., Holube, I., Herzke, T. (2009): A fitting Method for Headphones to compensate individual Hearing Impairments. Proc. of the 3rd Int. ICST Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, London, UK, April 1-3, 2009, pp. 1-8.

Schulz, A.; Herzke, T.; Lequerica, M.I.; Beskow, J.; Hein, A. (2008): Improving Accessibility: Supportive Technologies for the Hearing Impaired in a Set-Top Box. European Interactive TV Conference, Salzburg, Austria, July 3-4, 2008.

Meis, M., Frowein, H., Granström, B., Appell, J.-E., Hein, A. (2007): Tele-monitoring and Assistant System for People with Hearing Deficiencies. Proc. of 2nd European Conference on eHealth (ECEH’07). Oldenburg, Germany, October 11 – 12, 2007, pp. 163-175.

Appell, J.E.; Hohmann, V.; Schulz, A.; Hein, A. (2007): Hearing at Home. DAGA 2007 – 33rd German Annual Conference on Acoustics. March 19th-22nd, 2007 in Stuttgart, pp. 629 - 630.

(Changed: 29 May 2024)  | 
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