Advances in Robotics Helping People with Hearing Loss

Technology is changing our world as we know it. It’s helping us make more sense of the world around us, keeping us entertained, and breaking scientific and medical boundaries on a regular basis.

The evolution of technology is also affecting our understanding and treatment of hearing loss. Our knowledge of the differing types of hearing loss allows hearing care specialists to match sophisticated hearing devices to the wearer’s lifestyle and hearing impairment. The next big breakthrough in the treatment of hearing loss could come from the field of robotics. Today, we’re exploring how.

Hearing Loss and Robotics

Researchers in China have been studying the interaction between robots and humans. Through the course of their research, they developed a sensor that is capable of detecting the frequencies of sounds.

This could lead to an important breakthrough in treating hearing loss. Typically, the inability to identify sounds at different frequencies is what often leads people to require hearing aids.

Why Are Sound Frequencies Important?

Sound frequencies are the measure of a sound’s pitch. Sound frequencies are generally divided into high and low. A bird chirping is an example of a high frequency sound. Conversely, the rumbling of thunder is an example of a low frequency sound. Frequencies are measured in hertz (Hz).

People with normal hearing can hear sound frequencies between 20 – 20,000 Hz. It’s important for us to hear a range of sound frequencies, as our world is surrounded by many different frequencies. Even the patterns of human speech span different frequencies. Consonant sounds, including letters such as “f”, “h” and “s” tend to have higher sound frequencies than vowel sounds.

Sound Frequencies and Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss is the third most common disorder in adults over 65, the Hearing Loss Association of America outlines. The inability to hear sounds fully and clearly, especially sounds at higher frequencies, is a common symptom of sensorineural hearing loss. Almost all forms of sensorineural hearing loss can be effectively treated with hearing aids.

How can Robotics Help?

As robotic technology advances, their ability to improve some speech is improving. However, given the complexity of human speech, robots still struggle to understand many sounds. Researchers are trying to improve how robots and humans interact, an area of study known as “social robotics.”

As researchers in China have developed a sensor capable of detecting sound frequencies, we’ve taken one step closer to a robot that is capable of understanding human speech. These technology advancements could one day result in bespoke hearing aid devices, designed to only change the frequencies that you struggle to hear. It would truly be a hearing aid revolution!

Although we’re not quite at the stage of bespoke hearing devices, at Anderson Audiology we have a wide range of devices available. Our hearing care specialists can match your lifestyle to the hearing aid that’s right for you. If you’d like to learn more, or to book an appointment, call us today on 702-997-2964. Alternatively, click here to request an appointment online.

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