Nuance Hearing is a leading provider of focused listening technology, changing how people manage auditory distractions and background noise and offering a solution to the difficulties of focusing and understanding speech in noisy environments.
We have recently launched the Voice Selector Study; an advanced directional microphone developed to improve speech intelligibility in noisy background settings. Every classroom comes with distractions and disturbances, so filtering them out and focusing on the teacher’s voice is a challenge and requires cognitive effort.
It requires effort for every child, but in particular, kids who are diagnosed with ADHD, ADD, APD (Auditory Processing Disorder) and also ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), often find it harder than other children to focus and concentrate during lessons. It affects their ability to learn, and their experience in the classroom.
The Voice Selector Study uses beamform technology to help the user focus on the dominant speaker (the teacher) and tune out all other voices and noises. This allows for cognitive relief in terms of noise filtering and makes learning easier.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
Nuance Hearing was founded in 2015 with the fundamental goal of developing a technological solution for the ‘cocktail party problem’ – the difficulty of understanding speech in noisy environments. As the years progressed, we started to encounter more and more suggestions that our technology could improve the classroom experience and once we tested that theory, we found evidence that showed it can really help with concentration in that environment!
What makes the company unique is that we make it our mission to provide meaningful, personal empowerment through technology. And that’s not something we take lightly! We know that noise and attention issues have a damaging effect on communication for millions of people and are determined to help.
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How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?
Over the years we have made significant technological developments and algorithmic advancements within the framework of acoustic beamforming, becoming a world-leader in directional hearing signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).
Our technological developments have led to many collaborations with business partners in the hearing aid and assistive technology industry, clinical researcher scientists, educators and EdTech advocates. This includes a table microphone, designed to be used with hearing aids and developed in partnership with hearing aid industry leader Starkey.
What can we hope to see from Nuance Hearing in the future?
We are already discovering and learning more about the different audiences and professionals who can benefit from our world-leading technology. In the future we hope, as we deepen our understanding of the difficulties faced, we hope to provide more and better solutions for them.
We will look to constantly improve our products as our audio technology keeps evolving, to help deliver the clearest and most focused listening we can, in live situations. We are still working on and improving our algorithm and adding more audio processing abilities.
Over the coming years, low latency Bluetooth connectivity will become more commonplace. This means that our products will be able to be used with the majority of earphones and hearing aids, and therefore our technology will be more accessible and appeal to wider audiences.
We also have a few exciting projects in development, which I can’t talk about just yet!