A new project4 min read

I know I haven’t posted very frequently in the past weeks, especially not in English. This was mostly due to me having other things to do (learning for university, organizing various events, fixing my life, …) but I have something to announce today: I started the development of my first Android app.

Please give it away for the HearingAidApp!

The basic idea came from my father. He has the usual age-related hearing loss (so-called presbycusis). For a long time, he believed that we all were mumbling. But at some point, we convinced him, that it wasn’t us mumbling but rather him not hearing well. Other symptoms he had were that we had to turn up the TV more than usual. Now, he has very expensive hearing aids, tailored to his needs by a professional hearing aid acoustician. But still, it took him very long to be persuaded that he has a hearing loss and even then, it took him time to actually get a hearing aid for his needs. And on top of that, a hearing aid is not a negligible financial investment.

Many people have the same scenario as my father. The initial phase of “You are all mumbling!” and then a very long and exhausting time when the hearing aids are adapted to ones needs. Some people even don’t make it through the adjustment phase, either because they get so annoyed by it or because the hearing aids they get are so cumbersome, that they just leave them at home.

But we all have a small multifunction device in our pockets, commonly called a smartphone. That smartphone has a microphone and one can connect headphones to listen to sound. So why not just record the mic audio and pass it through to the headphones to use your phone as a cheap hearing aid? Obviously, it will not look as subtle and stylish as professional hearing aids and it will never even reach the audio quality of them, but still, it would be a good head start. People already have smartphones and it only takes the fraction of a minute to install a simple application. Then, just grab yourself some cheap headphones and voilà, you built yourself your very own hearing aid.

So, that’s what all of this is about: A simple app that directly passes the microphone output to the headphones (or the speaker). For some personalization, one is able to create custom profiles with a custom EQ that is applied to the audio signal.

I know, I know, you have a ton of questions in your head by now (You probably don’t, but I am going to answer them anyway 😉 )

1. Is this application published in the Google Play Store?

Not yet, but it will be, as soon as I finish it. If you are interested, you can get the most recent development version here. But keep in mind that it’s not even a beta yet, so, things might look a little rough around the edges.

2. Will this application be available for iOS?

No, not at the current stage. I have no mac computer to develop on, neither do I have an iPhone to test the app. I thought about using a cross-platform framework (like Xamarin or React Native) to publish an iOS app too, but sound processing is a very time-sensitive task, so, you want to reduce the amount of overhead as much as possible.

If you are motivated, the app is open source and the sound processing core is actually cross platform (I am using the Superpowered Audio SDK). Just fork the Repo on GitHub (linked above) and get crackin’!

3. Are you going to publish more blog posts about the app?

Certainly! Although I work in the software industry for a little time now, learning a new technology is always interesting and I want to share my thoughts about it with you! There is already a technical blog post in the works about my thoughts on the Android App framework and there is certainly more to come!

I will also publish a scientific paper about the creation of the app.

(Also, the app is going to get a special place on this Website!)

4. Is there anything more to say?

Probably not. That’s why I am going to sign off now and wish you all the best. Over and out.

HearingAidApp is superpowered.

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