Hearing at Home
Dipl. -Inform. Jochen Meyer
The increase in the number of people having hearing deficiencies is strongly connected to the demographic change in the European Union. The sense of hearing begins to degrade from the age of 40 onwards. Estimates indicate that more than 50% of the European Union population over the age of 60 have some degree of hearing loss. Predictions show that by 2015 the figure will increase to be 90,588 thousand. This figure indicates that more than 14% of adults in Europe will have hearing problems. Furthermore, this trend shifts persons with hearing disabilities to being one of the largest groups which will have to face the challenge that communication is mainly audio based.
The HaH project focuses on the needs of the hearing-impaired in home environments. Formerly separated devices like the personal computer (PC), hi-fi systems, TV sets, digital cameras, telephones, fax machines, intercoms, and services like internet access, Voice over IP (VoIP), Personal Information Management (PIM), Pay TV, and home automation grow together. These devices and services are accessible via a TV set that is connected to a PC or set top box (STB) that implements interfaces to network gateways as well as to home automation scenarios. The TV set becomes the »central Home Information and Communication (HIC) platform« of the household in the communication society. The HIC platform will support the hearing-impaired with easy to configure »supportive audio signal processing (SASP)« and visual support on a TV screen.
The HaH project is funded by the European Commission in its 6th framework program (FP6-IST STREP project) and addresses the strategic objective of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) for the Ageing Society.
The Hearing at Home (HaH) project researches and develops next generation assistive devices that allow the growing number of hearing impaired – which predominantly includes the elderly – equal participation in communication. The project aims to empower the hearing disabled to play their own role in the information society.