Action on Hearing Loss Logo
    Total results:
    Search
      Total results:

      Double Dutch: helping people hear in difficult situations

      Dutch enterprise SpeakSee is visiting Britain to premiere its new two-in-one system to help people with hearing loss take part in group conversations. Jari Hazelebach, co-founder of SpeakSee, tells us more about the system.

      By: Jari Hazelebach | 13 September 2017

      Anyone with any sort of hearing loss will be well versed in the problems of trying to follow a conversation that’s not one-to-one, never mind being able to take part in and actively contribute to it. 

      The problem is, of course, made far worse in background noise like in a restaurant. Or if you are walking in a group, trying to eat at the same time, or travelling in a car. For people with hearing loss, it can be isolating, exhausting and deeply frustrating. It may lead to some people avoiding certain group situations altogether. 

      We are a Dutch Start-up called SpeakSee. Both of my parents are profoundly deaf and I have seen how difficult some situations can be. For people with a severe hearing loss, formal or informal group situations are just about impossible to follow. I’ve seen this with my own father, for example, a technical engineer, who can’t follow work meetings. He has to find out what was discussed afterwards. 

      We provide a solution to this all too common problem and we’re coming to the UK this summer to trial a new system aimed at overcoming the issue. 

      The SpeakSee solution is targeting several environments; from work meetings to social situations and any other gathering of more than two people, although it can also be used for one-to-one conversations as a standalone mic. 

      After dozens of interviews with people with varying degrees of hearing loss we have developed a prototype for two proposed solutions.

      The first is to use the speech-to-text functionality on its own and the second is to stream the speech to a hearing aid or cochlear implant. You could also, if preferable, use a combination of both solutions. The combination of the two allows the user to glance at the text, see what they’ve missed, and re-join the conversation. 

      The basic speech-to-text idea is simple. Microphones the size of a USB stick – you can use up to 10 microphones - are given to participants of the conversation. The system captures voices after a microphone is clipped to the speaker’s shirt, before transcribing the spoken words into text in less than a second. The person with hearing loss can then read who said what thanks to the colour-coded transcript as it appears on their mobile phone on the SpeakSee app.

      “You can start the conversation right away after distributing the mics – there’s no set-up time or effort involved. With this solution we want to help overcome the barriers many people who are deaf or have hearing loss face when it comes to group situations.”

      For those who prefer audio, a different option is to use hearing aids or cochlear implants, which the Speaksee microphones can be made compatible with. Because the microphones are placed near the mouth, and make use of background noise cancelling technology, the speech clarity is greatly enhanced. A necklace with a receiver is used to make the system compatible with nearly all hearing aids and cochlear implants using the Telecoil setting. After a conversation, the microphones are just placed in a dock where they can be charged up. 

      In November we will be testing a prototype of the solution with 30 people who are deaf or have hearing loss, mostly from the UK. We are keen to meet people who are deaf or have hearing loss to try out our product so that we can create an affordable and fit for purpose product. We want to make this product accessible for everyone, not just people who can afford it. 

      Our approach means we’re really keen to involve users as much as we can, and to receive (and act on) input from as many potential users as possible. So, if you'ree interested and want to stay up to date with our development, please visit our website and leave your email address, or email us directly at hello@speak-see.com

       

      Recent Posts

      International Symposium on Inner Ear Therapeutics

      Earlier this month Action on Hearing Loss joined scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians from around the world in Hanover, Germany, to discuss the latest developments in treatments for inner ear-related diseases, including hearing loss and tinnitus.

      By: Cláudia Gonçalves
      19 November 2019

      Tech ideas to help raise awareness of hearing loss

      For the last couple of years, Microsoft UK has hosted an Ideas Generator event for charities. It’s a chance to explore how charities can harness the latest technology to provide real-world solutions. This year, the Microsoft team chose Action on Hearing Loss to attend along with four other charities.

      By: Kevin Taylor
      14 November 2019

      How Akouos Therapeutics is working to develop genetic therapies for hearing loss

      Ακούω is a Greek word that means to listen. Akouos Therapeutics (pronounced ah KOO ohs) is a biotechnology company based in Boston, USA. It was formed in 2016 with the goal of applying precision genetic medicine to conditions that cause hearing loss. A key step in the development of such treatments underlies the choice of the company’s name.

      By: Jim McLaughlin, Akouos Therapeutics
      14 November 2019

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      Recent Posts

      International Symposium on Inner Ear Therapeutics

      Earlier this month Action on Hearing Loss joined scientists, pharmaceutical companies and clinicians from around the world in Hanover, Germany, to discuss the latest developments in treatments for inner ear-related diseases, including hearing loss and tinnitus.

      By: Cláudia Gonçalves
      19 November 2019

      Tech ideas to help raise awareness of hearing loss

      For the last couple of years, Microsoft UK has hosted an Ideas Generator event for charities. It’s a chance to explore how charities can harness the latest technology to provide real-world solutions. This year, the Microsoft team chose Action on Hearing Loss to attend along with four other charities.

      By: Kevin Taylor
      14 November 2019

      How Akouos Therapeutics is working to develop genetic therapies for hearing loss

      Ακούω is a Greek word that means to listen. Akouos Therapeutics (pronounced ah KOO ohs) is a biotechnology company based in Boston, USA. It was formed in 2016 with the goal of applying precision genetic medicine to conditions that cause hearing loss. A key step in the development of such treatments underlies the choice of the company’s name.

      By: Jim McLaughlin, Akouos Therapeutics
      14 November 2019

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      More like this

      We're really proud of everyone who's a part of Action on Hearing Loss, and hope you'll feel inspired to become a part of our community.​

      We campaign for changes that make life better for people who are confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.

      Our ears are our organs of hearing and balance. They have three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.