How To Empower Your Unique Hearing

Discover the pioneering solution to match your specific hearing needs

When thinking of DNA, most of us picture a colorful spiral string containing information about how tall we are or what the color of our eyes is. This recurrent double-helix image in our heads of what DNA actually is, is a graphic illustration of a structure composed by genes, the genetic material transferred to us by our parents. Every gene contains certain and unique characteristics that will be passed along to the individual.

If DNA is what differentiates an individual from the rest of the world and what makes each person unique, it should not only be reduced to be the shaper of one’s physical appearance. It somehow also leads us on a specific way of perceiving, hence hearing, the world.

 

The Role of DNA in Hearing Loss

 

Hearing loss can have different origins – it might emerge from a long-term exposure to a noisy environment, an ear infection or the encounter of a sudden extraordinarily loud sound. Fortunately, not all forms of hearing loss are permanent.

Many reasons for hearing loss are already known, such as that related to age or due to damage to the inner ear. The reasons for sudden perceptive deafness although, or for sudden sensorineural hearing loss, remain unknown. Researchers continue to debate if hearing loss can be caused by DNA mutations, viruses, or radiation-induced DNA damage. Regardless, the consensus is that hearing loss differs from case to case and that not every hearing profile is the same. In a way, it could be said our hearing profiles differ from one another as much as our DNA does.

 

The Bottom Line for the Need of Personalisation

 

But why are we illustrating the role of DNA in our bodies on such a scientific level? To illustrate the concept that every individual perceives the same sound in a different way it is crucial to comprehend this fundamental difference: we are all composed of different amino acid sequences, unique sequence arrangements which are unlike anyone else’s. For example, one song can be transmitted to 10,000 radio listeners, but not two of these listeners will hear the song in the same way. Although we hear the same melody or chant that was initially recorded, every person perceives the sounds slightly different.

Usually perceiving sounds differently is a great thing. It means when you hear a song, the sounds transmitted through your auditory canal are unique and individual to you. In order to build upon this unique ability everyone has, it is safe to say that we all wish to perceive sounds in the best possible way.

Unfortunately, on the not-so-bright side of perceiving sounds differently, we find hearing loss. The condition of hearing loss deprives many listeners of experiencing their music in an optimized individual manner. To make it possible to listen to sounds in the best possible way, especially for people who suffer from hearing loss, it is important to know a person’s individual earprint, one’s specific hearing profile, and to adjust the incoming audio accordingly.

The Pioneering Solution

 

When artists record a song, they have an intent for the listener, an array of emotions they wish to convey, and a state of being which they aspire the listener to reach. Unfortunately, hearing loss causes listeners to lose the ability to hear certain frequencies, resulting in a mediocre audio experience because of flawed hearing capability. With different hearing profiles, there surely exists a need to find a way to listen to music in an individualized manner. Similar to vision, hearing varies from person to person. Conditions such as hyperopia (farsightedness) or myopia (nearsightedness) require some individuals to wear prescription glasses or contact lenses to obtain normal vision. Those glasses and lenses enhance an individual’s eyesight, they serve as a personalized fit for their vision. Imagining our life without those sight enhancements makes it obvious why they are so important: Without them, we wouldn’t be able to properly perceive our environment. In the same way, individuals should have access to personalized sound based on their unique hearing ability to really make the most out of their hearing.

Thinking about this uniqueness of hearing raised some questions to us: Why should music or sound be presented in one form only? If we are all so different, from our DNA to our hearing profiles, why don’t we optimize the hearing experience to match our individual profiles? We came to the conclusion that in order to experience sounds in the best possible way, they need to be adjusted to every person individually. To make that possible, Bragi partnered up with the hearing experts from Mimi Hearing Technologies.

We combined Mimi’s algorithms with Bragi’s in-ear computer technology and hardware to capture unique earprints. The result of this collaboration is Project Ears, a personalized hearing assistant that makes it possible for everyone to perceive their environment in the best possible way – based on their individual hearing needs.

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Lukas Bielmeier

Hi, I'm Lukas! Editor of the Project Ears Blog and sharing Bragi's vision of a truly wireless and enabled future for everybody.

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