The device devoid of sophistication will help millions of elderly people with hearing problems who do not have the means to purchase expensive devices, the developers believe.
In the U.S., a team of engineers from the Georgia Institute of Technology introduced a hearing aid that can be assembled by yourself, spending only one dollar on components for the device. This is what Sci-Tech Daily reports.
“The main problem with existing hearing aids is their price. Because the average cost of a gadget is about $4,700. Their budget analogs are around half a thousand”, — the developers compare.
To reduce the cost of hearing aids, scientists abandoned expensive digital signal processors and instead installed electronic filters to adjust the frequency parameters.
“This part is hidden in a case printed on a 3D printer and is powered by a flat or finger battery,” — explain the scientists.
Lead author Sohum Singh himself suffers from hearing loss.
“I was born with a hearing loss and didn’t use hearing aids until after high school. This project provided me with an opportunity to find out what I can do to help other people who are in the same situation as me but don’t have the resources to purchase hearing aids,” Singh said, answering the question of why he decided to develop a budget gadget for the hearing impaired.
At the same time, the device is not without drawbacks: so far, its size is larger than that of its analogs, and the expected service life is one and a half years. You need to change the batteries in the device once in three weeks.
However, as the authors of the gadget assure, they continue to work on its size. In the near future they are going to release a compact version of the device, and then move on to clinical trials.
It is known that around the world 230 million people aged 65 years and older are experiencing hearing loss. It usually becomes difficult for them to distinguish between high sounds — the squealing of electronic devices, for example — and certain consonants. It is difficult to understand the speech of the interlocutor, the background noises become incomprehensible and distracting. Such processes can, in the opinion of doctors, accelerate the decline of cognitive abilities.