Hearcom: Hearing in the communication society

  • Vlaming M
  • Kollmeier B
  • Dreschler W
 et al. 
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A group of 28 research partners joined the EU-funded project HearCom with the overall aim to improve hearing communication. One of the main achievements has been the provision of advanced hearing screening tests by telephone and Internet. Next to that it was aimed to harmonize hearing diagnostic tests for European languages. For this the concept of an Auditory Profile was defined on which a number of diagnostic hearing tests were developed in several languages. As hearing problems are also a result of adverse acoustical circumstances such as for room acoustics and telecom systems, these effects have been studied, modelled and evaluated for hearing impaired persons. In the area of rehabilitation a large scale comparison study was performed on signal enhancement techniques for hearing devices. Both objective and subjective benefits were found for specific listening conditions in relation to a chosen signal processing method. As modern technology may assist on hearing and communication it was studied how the use of automatic speech transcription or the use of handheld communication devices may help people with hearing problems. It is shown that communication benefits can be obtained, but that the benefit is limited in practice as processing power of today's handheld devices is still insufficient. An overview is given on the HearCom portal with sections for screening diagnostics, hearing information for the public and professionals, and a new HearCompanion service that provides step-by-step support for the hearing rehabilitation process.

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