Training in hearing loss with familiar voices



According to MedicalXpress, researchers at Washington University have developed training software to allow patients with hearing loss to practice listening to the voices they most want to hear.

The aim of the project is to help people with hearing loss in their daily lives. Researcher Nancy Tye-Murray and her colleagues at Washington University have developed software tools to improve speech recognition and provide ongoing contact with an audiologist. They have named the program Customized learning: Exercises for Aural Rehabilitation, or clEAR.

clEAR was developed in collaboration with the University’s Office of Technology Management. Tye-Murray and program co-founder, Brent Spehar, a research scientist at the School of Medicine, launched a St. Louis-based startup company in 2016 to provide the software to patients and hearing healthcare professionals. The training system includes conventional generic voices, but can also be used to record and edit voices, allowing patients to train with the voices of the people they most want to hear, for example partners, children or grandchildren. The family member simply needs to record the samples. Once the recording is finished, the patient can begin training with the specific voices of interest.

Tye-Murray is a professor of otolaryngology and of audiology, as well as communication sciences. She explains that “Hearing loss destroys self-identity. The inability to hear and participate in everyday conversations is isolating and can destroy relationships with family, friends and co-workers. In my lab, we have been developing computer software to help adults and children with hearing loss practice listening, helping train the ear to better understand the people who are most important in their lives.”

Source: MedicalXpress, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.