Hearing aid simulator shows how algorithms work in real-time


WaveTech– Soluções Tecnológicas, a recently established Brazilian company has developped a free ap that reproduce the most common features embarked on hearing aids. ‘Woalá’ (http://woala-app.com/pt/) is a simulator whose purpose is to show how a hearing aid works, explore the effects of its main algorithms and, finally, raise awareness among hearing impaired people who still haven’t looked for treatment.

Woalá benefit from an 10-band equalizer, a filter to restrict the operational range, an AGC to avoid discomfort and hearing damage risks, and a noise reduction feature to reduce the influence of degraded frequency bands.

The Florianopolis-based WaveTech has been founded in 2012 by two partners, Brazilian Alexandre Ferreira and Frenchman Guillaume Barrault, both electrical engineers. The app’s name, Woalá, recalls the homeland of the latter since it is the French word ‘voilà’ phonetical translation for Brazilian Portuguese. Voilà means ‘there it is’.

The app is available for iPhone in three languages (Brazilian Portuguese, English, French) and can be downloaded here.

Woalá website warns the app is not and does not replace a hearing aid. Many other aps for smartphone looks for reproducing hearing aids features, however WaveTech claims Woala is the only one showing how its algorithms work in real-time.

The app can be used discreetly with ear phones while the phone is laying on the table. To Guillaume Barrault, Woalá may be considered as an incentive on the way to hearing aids. « Many people are not willing to try out hearing aids due to aesthetic reasons for instance, on the other hand everyone uses earphones ; thus, while experimenting the ap, the user may notice more easily the benefit of amplification and get interested in the professional who could fit it according his /her needs », states the French engineer.

WaveTech develops other technologies in the hearing impairment field. The company has know-how in digital signal processing and has been working on a Brazilian hearing aid chip.

Stéphane Davoine