Q: Does “adjustable for your personal hearing profile” mean it can be adjusted according to a person’s audiogram.
A: There are actually three aspects to this; the version of the application we’re currently working on has the following functionality:
1. Conduct a hearing test:
The app plays a series of tones, for each one you push a button to indicate whether you heard it or not, you run the tests first for one ear than the other, and at the end it produces a report. You can tweak this as needed.
2. Enter an audiologist test:
If you have a baseline hearing test from an audiologist, you can upload and tweak it as needed. You can also choose a frequency, apply and save it.
3. Select a Standard baseline profile:
We’ve added in standard profiles of male and female populations by age groups; you have the option to choose the profile that fits you and tweak it.
Q: When will the iOS version be released?
A: We’re currently targeting release of the iOS version by end of year 2013.
Q: When will the Droid X2 version be available?
A: The initial Droid “jellybean” version (aka version 4.1 or later) is targeted for release the summer 2014. Optimizations will be done on a manufacturer platform based on market share and SoundFest’s ability to work with them as well as influence the Android platform. Android currently has a delay problem that significantly affects the real-time performance of our algorithms. Some improvement is projected for their 4.1 release. We may have to work one on one with manufacturers to get the performance that we need.
Q: Is there a Beta version we could check out?
A: We’re currently looking for potential customers for the Beta test phase of our application; please contact us if you have hearing loss and are interested in participating.
Q: Will the app have an MP3 player function that reads the iTunes library and lets me enter my hearing loss profile so I can use normal ear/headphones?
A: This is not planned in the initial releases of Real Clarity, however we are studying the issue as part of our product roadmap planning.
Q: Will you incorporate an audiogram in your app?
A: Yes, we have the capability to enter audiograms though the UI but in a manner that is relatively immune to error.
Q: Are you planning to make a smaller earpiece (similar to RITE/CRT hearing aids) since size matters?
A: Size matters to people who are familiar with hearing aids. We’ve had comments from others who say that it’s better if it doesn’t look like a hearing aid, and has the functionality of a Bluetooth headset. For us, size is determined primarily by two factors 1) the size of the battery. We are using rechargeable batteries to eliminate the hassle and cost of replacing batteries, but that comes at the cost of size. 2) There has to be a place where we can put the microphones to pick up the user’s voice for phone calls. Microphone beam-forming can pick up a person’s voice but they have to be unblocked, so they can’t be behind the ear, and there needs to be enough separation between them to do the beam forming.
Q: How is the app initialized?
A: RealClarity is initialized just like any other app.
Q: How does one input a hearing loss profile?
A: Currently you have the options of 1) conducting a hearing test in the app, 2) entering and optionally tweaking a baseline hearing test from an audiologist, or 3) choosing from a set of standard demographic profiles from male and female populations and tweaking it to fit your needs.
Q: What adjustments are available?
A: The Real Clarity application has a wide variety of adjustments including volume control, trade-off between speech intelligibility versus noise reduction, configuring and calibrating your hearing test, creating and/or modifying hearing loss profiles, and selecting which microphone is used.
The advanced version screen provides an equalizer (the number of bands is TBD), balancing between the left and right ears, the ability to adjust the noise threshold and mitigate loud impulse sounds, and the ability to select various situational profiles (listening to television or music, riding in a car or an airplane, being in a restaurant, etc.). It also allows you to sample the noise in a location to provide sample input to the noise removal algorithm.
Q: How does one make adjustments to obtain optimum clarity for the user?
A: The three Real Clarity features that the user can leverage to provide optimum clarity are: the option of creating a hearing profile targeted to a user’s hearing needs, the ability to select the situational profile that is optimal for the user in a specific environment, and the capability of adjusting volume and the tradeoff between speech intelligibility and noise. The equalizer can also be used to boost the main voice frequencies and lower frequencies outside the voice range.
Q: Are the adjustment settings stored in the iPhone and available to the user?
Q: Will the Bluetooth headsets have compatibility with applications like Microsoft Lync 2010 and 2013? What about Windows 8?
A: Regarding compatibility, our current focus is on mobile devices; however, if a desktop is configured to connect via Bluetooth to create a wireless headset, our device will support the hands-free protocol and the A2DP protocol which will allow use of the first for Skype calls and the second to stream music.
Q: I have single-sided deafness due to an acoustic Neuroma. looking for a bi cros type hearing aid. Can SoundFest help?
A: the way Real Clarity can help is that the microphone on the smartphone will pick up sound best from whatever direction the microphone is ‘aimed’ at and relay that to the earpiece in whichever ear it is placed. So Real Clarity could be used in a couple of ways:
1. With earbuds that mainly block sound at either ear: all sound is picked up by the microphone and sent to one or both ears.
2. With open earbuds not blocking sound at either ear: the sound from the microphone would be heard in one ear along with whatever sound is also reaching that ear. To the extent that the sound from the microphone represented the sound heard by the other ear, it could provide something like a Cros technology device. The processing could potentially add a bit more delay. Certainly the programmable volume and gain controls would allow the user to control the amount of sound coming from the smartphone microphone vs what is heard normally. It might be comparable to the earpieces announcers wear on TV.
Q: Will it be possible to use Bluetooth headphones with the app?
A: If regular Bluetooth headphones or a Bluetooth earpiece is paired to the iPhone, it always defaults to the mic in the headphones or earpiece resulting in having your voice be predominant, and ignores the mic in the app. The iPhone doesn’t let you select which mic to use. To remedy this, SoundFest is developing its own proprietary Bluetooth earpiece to be used in conjunction with our app. This will have the ability to select which mic will be used. So in Phase I, we’re using a wired headset, so that the mic in the app is used.
For music listening, there are Bluetooth headsets that have no mic in them, but it isn’t yet clear how that would work in conjunction with our app.
Q: I do not use a smartphone. I would buy one to use with your hearing device I didn’t have to subscribe to a monthly service.
A: You have a couple of options:
1. iPhones 4 and 5, running iOS 5 or 6 – Virgin Mobile sells these without requiring a contract, but you’d have to check with them for what’s available
2. iPod iTouch running iOS 5.1 or higher – if you want hearing assistance only, not a phone. Can buy aniPod touch 4th gen with 8 GB of storage for < $200 at Best Buy and other similar stores. Out software can easily run with 8 GB. If you want to put a lot of songs or videos on the device as well, you can buy the 32G version for about $250. The new iPod Touch 5th gen starts at $299 for an 8 GB model but is thinner, lighter, and more powerful.