Adaptive Hearing Aid Focuses Users Only On What They Want To Hear

The Soundhawk smart listening system uses wireless and smartphone capabilities to focus on specific sounds, rather than amplify all ambient noise.

Cupertino, California-based startup Soundhawk has developed a smart listening system that adapts to different environments and helps wearers focus on the specific things they want to listen, like the conversation within their table as opposed to the entire noise in the restaurant.

Soundhawk uses existing wireless, smartphone and sensor technologies in their smart listening system to help wearers cancel out background noise and focus on what they want to listen to. The listening system consists of a wearable device called the Scoop, a wireless mic, a mobile app, and a charging case.

The Scoop is placed in the ear like a Bluetooth headset. The in-ear device has two microphone sensors that allow the device to adjust to the environment. It connects to the user’s smartphone via Bluetooth 2.1 and can also be used like a normal wireless headset, allowing the wearer to make hands-free calls or access Siri or Google Now.

Using the Soundhawk mobile app, which comes in iOS and Android, users can personalize their listening system. They can set the app to four acoustic environments: indoors, dining, driving, and outdoors, and over time the system will adjust to the user’s specific needs.

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Wearers can use the Scoop by itself or use it with the wireless mic in situations where the user wants to focus on listening to one thing. For example, in a crowded restaurant the mic can be placed strategically on the table or attached to the jacket of the person sitting on the opposite side. The mic picks up localized sound and enables the wearer to hear better amidst all the background noise.

The entire smart listening kit fits into the case that also serves as the charger for the Scoop and the wireless mic.

Soundhawk was founded by Dr. Rodney Perkins, founder of Stanford University’s California Ear Institute and ReSound, one of the world’s largest maker of hearing aids. The startup emphasizes that the smart listening system is not to be used as a replacement for hearing or medical aids and is meant to help people deal with hearing issues.

The Soundhawk system retails for $299 and is currently available for pre-order at a discounted price of $279.

Soundhawk

Sources: Wired, TNW, Co.Exist, CNet, The Verge

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