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New app for hard-of-hearing wins prestigious prize

Friday 6th April 2018
A new digital toolkit for people with hearing loss has won a prestigious award for its innovation. Image: Sladic via iStock
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An innovative range of apps and video games designed for partially deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals has been awarded a prestigious prize.

Developed by scientists from Imperial College London, the 3D Tune-In toolkit is designed to improve the lives of people living with hearing loss, for example by allowing them to enjoy music.

Within the toolkit, hard-of-hearing individuals will be able to access five different games and apps, each designed to show them how they can get more from their hearing aids and address communication challenges in their everyday lives.

For example, one of these web-based apps is called Musiclarity, and enables users to find a piece of music that they can then adjust to suit their unique hearing needs, with the sound then being delivered through loudspeakers or high-quality headphones.

At the same time, images representing the instruments used in each song, as well as its lyrics, will appear on the listener's screen, allowing them to get a better understanding of each piece of music. As a result, it could even enable people who are profoundly deaf to experience music so they do not completely miss out on new songs.

The innovation of the app impressed judges at the prestigious NHS England Healthcare Science Awards, where the work was given the title of Best Healthcare Science Partnering Patients and Citizens Project.

This recognition was given due to the collaborative element of the project, which saw the scientists work with patients and their families to make sure it was meeting the needs of hard-of-hearing individuals.

Project coordinator Dr Lorenzo Picinali commented: "We developed this toolkit, a collection of apps and video games, to help users ranging from children to the elderly to engage with their hearing aids and overcome challenges they face.

"We are pleased with the recognition from NHS England as we will be working on rolling out the toolkit across the NHS and beyond."

Written by James Puckle

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