Reactify, along with a consortium of mobile gaming companies, academic, and industry partners, have begun work on a project dedicated to helping hearing aid users get the most out of their hearing aids: 3D Tune-In.
Hearing aid technology has come along in leaps and bounds over recent decades, with many devices now being capable of very sophisticated behaviours such as directionality (so you can hear what’s right in front of you, but not to the sides or behind – very useful for parties or restaurant situations), noise reduction (filtering out unwanted background noise), and dedicated frequency response presets for a variety of listening situations. Despite this, many users of these advanced devices, particularly the less tech savvy such as the elderly or very young, still only use them for their most basic settings, such as direct amplification.
The loss of communication that often comes with hearing loss can very quickly lead to feelings of isolation and less desire to socialise. Many hearing aid users also give up on listening to music because they feel their hearing aid makes everything sound unpleasant or painful. Simply giving hearing aid users a better understanding of and training with their hearing aids can lead to vast improvements in quality of life.
3D Tune-In will aim to deliver this better understanding through a suite of informative apps and games that will help hearing aid users calibrate their hearing aids. This will be done by creating immersive virtual environments that accurately simulate real-world situations. These can be used by the hearing impaired community at their homes, or under the supervision of audiologists.
Reactify will be focussing on aspects of hearing loss related to music listening, with other partners focussing on apps or games for the elderly, children, and other target groups of the hearing impaired community.
Do you have any experience with hearing loss, or know people who do? We are particularly keen to talk to musicians or music lovers who use hearing aids in day-to-day life, but welcome any feedback from the community.
Alternatively, are you a developer wanting to make apps or games that use high-quality binaural audio? Do get in touch, and we will put you on a beta list for the 3DTI toolkit when it becomes available.