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Switched Frequency Hearing Aid

Redirect unheard frequencies to available ones for better understanding of speech
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Some of my hearing has gone, I'm 45, so no big surprise.

Over the years, I have thought about what it would take to be able to properly hear again. An idea I had that I haven't seen in my limited searching would work as follows:

First, most speech is understood in certain frequency ranges, defined in the upper harmonics. These are the frequencies that are lost as hearing degrades.

What if you had a system that analyzed hearing loss, and redirected lost frequencies to frequencies that were still available? Either neighboring frequencies, or lower frequencies that normally would share a harmonic with the lost frequency? Wouldn't that create a better hearing result, allowing for some kind of improvement in speech decoding?

simpleknight, Feb 18 2016

Some deep voices http://www.behindth...oiced-voice-actors/
It seems to me that if one can understand a deep voice, then a converted high voice should be understandable, too. [Vernon, Feb 18 2016]

Summary of Research / products since the 60's and 70's https://www.phonakp...ues_for_fitting.pdf
[scad mientist, Feb 18 2016]

Widex https://www.widexac...tion_DeafEduInt.pdf
[scad mientist, Feb 18 2016]

[link]






       // Some of my hearing has gone //   

       Check under the back seat of your car - it's amazing what can end up there.   

       [+] for the idea. It would sound weird at first, but humans are very adaptable.
8th of 7, Feb 18 2016
  

       One of my lost romantic interests was partly caused by a frequency hole in my hearing ( due to Machine shop noise ) and her voice being pitched right at that same frequency.   

       I would buy such a hearing aide in a heartbeat.   

       What was her name ? e? e something. ?
popbottle, Feb 18 2016
  

       I think it somewhat already exist in some hearing aids.   

       The feature would be called "frequency compression"
mofosyne, Feb 18 2016
  

       Sounds like a great idea. Apparently people have been studying it for a long time (see link). I looked into Widex in a little more detail and it sounds very similar to what you propose. One question I had with yours is how awful music might sound. Widex deals with that by always shifting sounds in increments of octaves.
scad mientist, Feb 18 2016
  

       Re: Widex results   

       I think that does prove the concept should work, but their target audience is a little different than what I envision.   

       For that study, it seems they took a whole bank of frequencies and moved them down, which is appropriate for people who would normally wear a hearing aid as a young person.   

       My concept would be different in this way: individual frequencies would be identified per person, and only those frequencies would be shifted.   

       I think this is an important distinction, as hearing loss for most of the population as we age is a frequency here and there, rather than a whole section of hearing frequency. It seems to me that it would be jarring and confusing to have some frequencies that one could hear mapped to others in a lower register.   

       Instead, by only remapping required frequencies, the alterations could be more adaptable.   

       Of course, this would mean periodic updates as additional frequencies were lost due to continued aging.
simpleknight, Feb 18 2016
  

       Regarding music: yeah, that is a challenge, but if the frequencies selected were harmonics (of which the octave is one), that might allow for that to be okay. But you're right - it would be a consideration for quality of life, and since I'm a singer, I wouldn't want to always be flat or sharp because of a hearing aid.   

       Which brings up a different idea: what if you could use this kind of tech to make someone always be on pitch?
simpleknight, Feb 18 2016
  

       //One of my lost romantic interests was partly caused by a frequency hole in my hearing ( due to Machine shop noise ) and her voice being pitched right at that same frequency. //   

       Ooooh, that inspires a modification - selective frequency sensetivity of the hearing aid. You know, in case you want to be able to filter out certain frequency ranges as well.....
Custardguts, Feb 18 2016
  
      
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