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Does it sound right?
This is my site Written by matan on March 11, 2010 – 2:26 pm

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

Imagine being a music lover, having been involved in bands throughout your life, and having an amazing sound system in your home.  Now imagine not being able to hear it — or at least not hear it like it was meant to sound.

Such is the dilemma facing a close personal friend in his sixties.  He has an expensive hi-fi system in his house and loves music, but due to a mild hearing loss, can’t enjoy the music through the system the way it was meant to be heard.

My wife is an audiologist, so we began brainstorming ideas to help “Bob.”  Hearing aids were out, because that’s like throwing a Ferrari engine on a bicycle—even if you could engineer a way for the engine to power the bicycle, why would you waste the engine and the technology behind it that way? Listening to a six-figure sound system through even the most advanced commercial hearing aid is the same way. The subtleties and nuances of the sound become lost in the way the hearing aid processes the audio, so there is no difference between the expensive sound system and the sound system that comes standard in a sub-compact car.

But my wife wouldn’t let it go.  “Why can’t we use the system itself to make it better for Bob?” she persisted.  And we all know how wives are, right?

So began Audeeva.  It’s one of my personal projects, to develop algorithms and possibly hardware to make sound—for lack of a better word—“sound” better to people with various types and degrees of hearing loss.  Everyone’s heard of “room correction”, the oft-hyped feature of modern home-theater components that attempts to correct for the acoustic deficiencies of the room.  What if we could make it go further?  Why can’t we also correct for the listener?  After all, we’re all different.  Not only do our brains process sound differently, but the ear’s physical anatomy is different from one person to the next.  The problem is further compounded by the fact that everyone has different patterns of hearing loss and a different way of interpreting the room’s deficiencies and the listening environment, and you have a rather difficult problem to solve.

Is Audeeva the end-all, be-all solution?  Of course not!  But it’s a stepping stone towards improving quality of life for millions, and, beyond even that, it’s a start.

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