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Why (and how) we created new audio products for hearing impaired persons Music to my brother’s ears 1 Company Confidential Bowen Innovation Consultants,

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Presentation on theme: "Why (and how) we created new audio products for hearing impaired persons Music to my brother’s ears 1 Company Confidential Bowen Innovation Consultants,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why (and how) we created new audio products for hearing impaired persons Music to my brother’s ears 1 Company Confidential Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. © 2009

2 Introduction 2 Prepared for Positive Lifestyles Panel (Friesen Conference 23 April 2009) By Morley Lipsett (semi-retired) SFU Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology and Earl Lipsett (retired musician/educator) With inspiration from Naftaly Ramrajkar (Product developer, audiophile & sage)

3 My brother (and his ears) 3 Meet the guy that introduced me to classical music 65 years ago

4 Predicament & the germ of an idea My visit to Edmonton Aging ears – and in a hospital What, no iPod? How hearing loss became a virtue 4

5 My ‘cool’ gear ( on the plane) 5

6 Meanwhile at the hospital Physical discomfort No tv No CDs No audio-visual enjoyment available My iPod unsuited to Earl’s ears, with or without hearing aid. So I went shopping for a remedy. –None existed! 6

7 And this begins our story - 7

8 Disconnects Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. © Hearing aid culture Invisibility Low power/tiny battery Not mp3-friendly Limited dynamic range tiny transducers low voltage Annoying to wear; easy to misplace Associated with ageism iPod culture Cool Visible & fashionable Superb sound quality for ‘normal hearing’ Music, music, music Trendy earphones But neglects personal hearing deficits

9 Not enjoyed (yet) by persons with hearing loss Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. © Such as Rock Musicians Age related (Boomers) Pilots Occupational damage Slow degradation over time Most everyone, sooner or later In fact Most people don’t know what they’ve been missing They just gradually got used to less brilliance lack of localization reduced clarity muffled sounds

10 Hearing acuity Often assumed Not normally measured until deafness is suspected Frequently a matter of opinion rather than accurately assessed. Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. ©

11 Yet audiograms are like eye exams Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. © Person with hearing loss Person with ‘normal’ hearing

12 So we set out To match the sounds of the world To Earl’s hearing spectrum Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. © By using musician-quality equipment. (i.e. audiophile, hi-fidelity, studio- quality stuff)

13 Technical objectives Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. © Restore audiophile listening experience i.e. beyond today’s youth For recorded performances and Live events

14 How we did it (eventually) Implementation 1. Developed a special, prototype interface device to precisely compensate (SpectraPhonics Normalizer technology) 2. Fed studio quality earphones/headphones (as used by artists and audiophiles) Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. ©

15 Obvious, perhaps, but unavailable Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. ©

16 Demo Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. (c)

17 We got it to work! At first with headphones and CD’s 17

18 Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. (c) Then with mics, ready for rehearsals

19 Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. (c)

20 Resulting experience (field trials) Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. © Like putting on glasses and seeing clearly - again. 20/20 listening Thrilling!

21 Technology & Gerontology Today’s media - MP3/Video players, video games, downloaded content, and live performances rely on hearing. Yet hearing profile (loss) has been and continues to be neglected by these markets Except for hearing aids Which are marketed as if for the infirm, the old, the defective. Company Confidential - Bowen Innovation Consultants, Ltd. (c)

22 Our ‘positive lifestyles’ vision to make it cool to be custom fitted for ‘ear glasses’. Let’s enjoy 20/20 listening; Let’s redefine ‘normal’!

23 Any questions? Does anybody here care to get involved in this work? 23 We wish to thank all of you, and a special thanks to the conference organizers...M & E


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