Technology July 17, 2020
#FutureTech – Amplify, a smart hearing aid for people with hearing impairments
If glasses can become fashion wear, why not hearing aids? That was the trigger for Alice Turner to start working on Amplify, a smart hearing aid that is pretty cool to look at too! That’s our focus on #FutureTech.
Glasses or spectacles, once seen as boring, have evolved into fashion wear. People wear them as a statement of confidence and style. That’s not quite true for hearing aids though. Many people feel conscious about wearing them and even try to hide them.
Alice Turner, a designer, is out to change that with Amplify. This is a hearing aid that uses bone conduction technology that converts sounds into waves. This way the hearing aid bypasses the eardrum and transfers the vibrations directly to the cochlea, allowing the user to hear.
Hearing aid with Bluetooth
Amplify provides users with high-quality audio for a more comfortable and wholesome sound experience. There is even a Bluetooth system integrated so the user can adapt to the smart world around. This will enable the user to control smart speakers, smart TVs, phones, and car audio devices.
Alice and her team hope Amplify will help boost the wearer’s confidence and lead them to showing it off as a fashion accessory rather treat it as a medical tool.
“In the ’60s, glasses were aids for a disability”, says Alice talking about her thought process in a media statement. “Now, glasses have evolved into ‘eyewear’, a fashion statement, and an extension of your personality. This shift made me question why the main innovation in hearing aid design is developing technology to make them smaller and more hidden”.
Trials of Amplify awaited
Amplify is still in the stage of a concept design and there is much work ahead in terms of prototype research and testing. What it has done is sparked off a conversation about making wearable medical accessories more aesthetic to boost user experience and confidence. Most of the available devices are pretty basic in their function.
Alice says the response has been encouraging. “I am so overwhelmed by the response ‘Amplify’ has received, both in and outside of the deaf community. Thank you so much for the feedback and kind comments, I am excited to keep pushing this design further”.
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