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Times of India
01 April 2013
Mumbai, India

Move over bionic ears and hearing devices, i-ears are here. A team from the University of Essex has developed a free mobile application that can turn the iPhone or iPod into a hearing aid.

The free-to-download app, the BioAid app can be used by anyone without the need for specific tests. At present, hearing impaired persons have to take up expensives hearing aid s or cochlear implants that are very expensive. The i-ears are, however, available free for iPhonePod users.

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The Essex university team said that while standard hearing aid s amplified some frequencies more than others, their app could compress the loud sounds that can make social situations like going to the pub, cinema or a birthday party intolerable.

In a release, the university said that people with hearing impairment often withdrew from public life. Even if they have a hearing aid, the technology is not sophisticated enough to offer a tailor-made solution to their impairment and in many cases people simply stop using them,'' it said.

The researchers believe that their app will help change the future of hearing devices. "It's not inconceivable that we'll wear phones on our wrist in the near future, or even as tiny devices behind the ear. With the BioAid algorithm and wi-fi technology, we could see dispensers able to remotely adjust the settings on a phone-based aid and even monitor use to ensure the user is getting the most out of it," the researchers said.

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