3D-TUNE-IN: facilitating hearing aid use through gaming


© iStock

The project 3D-TUNE-IN, short for 3D-games for TUNing and lEarnINg about hearing aids, was recently launched with 3-year funding from the EU under Horizon 2020. 3D-TUNE-IN will be coordinated by the recently established Dyson School of Design Engineering of Imperial College London, and includes 9 university and industry partners from Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Partners include the SME digital games industry (Reactify, Vianet, XTeam and Nerlaska), academic institutions, a large European hearing aids manufacturer (GN Hearing), and representatives of the hearing-impaired community.

Optimal use of hearing aids is essential for people with hearing impairment to truly benefit from the devices. Elderly patients are often found to prefer simple devices or to use only the basic amplification and equalization features of more advanced ones. However, more technologically advanced devices offer real improvements in certain hearing environments. Children also need to have simple ways of maximizing beneficial use of their hearing aids to ensure optimal speech and language development. In this context, 3D-TUNE-IN will aim to produce digital games for various target audiences and situations that can be applied to hearing aids to make the most of existing, overlooked, or neglected functionalities.

The basic idea is to apply techniques routinely used in games to non-leisure applications to develop optimal use of hearing aids. The developers are hoping that bringing the two worlds together will help to promote learning and skill acquisition, and ultimately to increase social interactions, making people with hearing impairments feel more confident and included in their communities.

Source: European Commission