New tool soon available for different languages

As any audiologist can tell you, it’s not always easy providing effective hearing solutions for people who speak different languages. But that could soon change, according to Toronto audiologist Marshall Chasin. Chasin says a new piece of software, now in development, could soon allow various language speakers to work with their audiologists to capture the sounds they’ve been missing.

“It’s a virtual hearing aid, it’s a fake hearing aid and it’s implemented on software on my laptop,” says Chasin. “If I want to look at 3000Hz where palatization is in Russian, I can actually give the client a joystick and I can adjust the gain at 3k, have them listen in English, then listen in Russian so you can get the difference within the individual. The error is very narrow.

“If I want to look at Portuguese and how much low frequency I need because they have a lot of nasals, I set it up for low frequencies and I get them. I get data very quickly and I can just plug it into the hearing aid, and I don’t have to worry if there a hearing aid that is seven channels instead of one channel.”

Chasin says he’s been aware of the need to find different solutions for difference languages since the 1980s when he heard from an engineer while on a tour of Unitron that the Japanese didn’t like the hearing aids. That led to a development of one hearing aid which had substantially more low frequency gain.

Rose Simpson