Hearing Aid Connectivity to Consumer Electronics

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Health and Human Services
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$1,362,525.00
Award Year:
2009
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
2R44DC009519-02
Award Id:
89042
Agency Tracking Number:
DC009519
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
6901 EAST FISH LAKE ROAD, SUITE #190, MAPLE GROVE, MN, -
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
927303412
Principal Investigator:
DANIEL HEDIN
(763) 463-4814
DHEDIN@AME-CORP.COM
Business Contact:
TOM HENDRICKSON
() -
thendrickson@ame-corp.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This project will develop a digital wireless streaming stereo audio system for the hearing impaired. Phase I has successfully demonstrated a novel technology that can be integrated fully into modern behind-the-ear heari ng aids to receive audio from consumer electronics devices such as cell phones, televisions, stereos, and personal media devices. The system uses on a small transmitter that plugs into standard headphone jack to digitize and transmit the audio to the heari ng aid. In hearing aids, capturing sound close to the source before it is combined with background noise offers better signal to noise ratio. In the case of consumer electronics devices, hearing aid users encounter difficulties with sound quality when usin g the integrated speakers of such devices. These devices often provide a standard audio output which offers a low noise signal. Existing methods to transmit audio signals to hearing aids from consumer electronics devices include Bluetooth, magnetic couplin g (digital and analog), and FM. FM radios are prone to interference and distortion and are being replaced by digital wireless solutions. Bluetooth consumes too much power to be directly integrated into small hearing aids, so these solutions require larger batteries in modules external to the hearing aid. Magnetic coupling can be made low power but can only transmit for short distances. There are many reasons why previous connectivity systems have experienced poor adoption rates and most are related to the i ntermediate relay module found in current solutions. The proposed solution will be the first to eliminate this relay module to allow direct long-range transmission to a micro behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid. The proposed wireless technology will offer lar ger distances (15 ft.) than magnetic coupling solutions and lower power (less than 200uW) than all digital alternatives. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: According to a Better Hearing Institute's (BHI) recent survey of 56,000 households, 31.5 million Americans hav e hearing loss. Hearing loss affects 1 in 10 Americans and 1 in 4 households. Furthermore while 95% of individuals with hearing loss could be successfully treated with hearing aids, only 23% currently use them. This project proposes to develop a low power, easy to use, hearing aid option that allows wireless transmission of audio directly to wireless enabled hearing aids from consumer electronics.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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