Friday, November 19, 2010

MIT Research Could Lead to Better Hearing Aids

One of the most annoying things for me about being in a crowded restaurant or other location is being unable to distinguish the sounds I want to hear from the background noise. There are ways to deal with noisy places, but wouldn't it be nice to not have to worry about it?

This article at MIT's website details some of the ways the university's research into hearing could improve hearing aids in the future, in particular researching how the ear distinguishes sounds to improve aids.

Hearing aid
The part of your ear that distinguishes sounds is called the tectorial membrane. It's in your inner ear, and it works with your basilar membrane to do its job. MIT scientists discovered that there's an important role played by the proteins that make up the tectorial membrane. Remove one of them via genetics, and you can't distinguish sounds as well.

So how does that help with hearing aid technology? Well, the research could help develop devices that can focus on a specific range of frequencies (like the range of your companion speaking). I can imagine some kind of control device that could help mute outside sounds (especially traffic!) to focus on specific frequencies.

Read the MIT article for more. (They're the experts!)


  1. Hey Megan,

    It's always great to see some new advances in hearing tech - or potential ones anyway.


  2. This is very good news. I know that this will really help a lot for those who have a hearing problem. I will be visiting this blog more often.

  3. Definitely background noise is a big problem with hearing aids and there is no way to completely eliminate this background noise. We hope this new advancement can help to solve this problem.

    Hearing Aid

  4. I find myself lying, in effect, to others by just smileing and perhaps noding my head as if I heard what they said. This is easier than askeing a waiter to repeat what he said three or four times. I have had three resound hearing aids in both ears. They are very very useless. They only help in very quiet rooms. I,m geting cut off from the rest of the world. No longer do I eat out or go to parties. Life is boreing and useless!


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