Train Your Ear with Your Loved One’s Voice

Customized software trains ear with familiar voices

In the U.S., more than 35 million adults report some amount of hearing loss, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And more than a quarter of those over age 65 have what is considered disabling hearing loss, meaning they would benefit from hearing aids.

To help people with hearing loss navigate their daily lives, Nancy Tye-Murray, Ph.D. and her colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed software tools to improve speech recognition and to provide ongoing contact with an audiologist. What makes this program unique is the ability to record the voices of people the client most wants to hear—like family members and friends.

“Our program includes traditional generic voices, but we also have a recording and editing system that lets patients train with the voices of people they most want to hear — often spouses, children or grandchildren,” Tye-Murray said. “The patient’s spouse, for example, sits down and records the samples. Our software edits the audio clips. As soon as the recording is finished, the patient can begin training with his or her spouse’s voice.”

The program, which is called “customized learning: Exercises for Aural Rehabilitation,” or clEAR, was launched a St. Louis-based startup company in 2016 to provide the software to patients and hearing health-care professionals.

The clEAR software allows users to play computer games designed to be entertaining while letting them practice recognizing common words and sounds. It’s not the only such training tool available, but Tye-Murray said one of the aspects of this software that sets it apart from other programs is the ability to practice listening to specific voices.

If you or a loved one is having issues hearing, please contact Sound Hearing Care today.

Laura Berry