ChatableApps has launched a universal hearing aid, using neuroscience-led artificial intelligence to empower those suffering from hearing loss to hear one-to-one conversations clearly, using an everyday smartphone and a standard pair of earbuds.
ChatableApps’ AI was created by reverse engineering the brain to understand how a healthy brain should work, when listening to speech. The resulting technique is called end-to-end neural speech synthesis and involves the neuroscience-led AI listening to the sound mixture of a conversation, and repeating the voice only element in real-time.
While traditional approaches attempt to label and remove sounds we aren’t interested in, ChatableApp’s proprietary artificial intelligence called VOXimity works differently, identifying the voice we want to hear, and creating a new, identical voice which sounds the same as the original but without any other background sounds.
Mark Cuban, who appears on the US version of Dragon’s Den and was the first investor in ChatableApps, said: “Chatable is using AI to address growing health care inequality by providing an affordable hearing aid app that helps with conversation.”
Giles Tongue, ChatableApps CEO, said: “Our unique ground-up AI makes our universal hearing aid the first app capable of addressing the global hearing epidemic. Following successful preclinical trials, we have decided to launch immediately due to urgent demand from Audiologists to help people struggling because of Coronavirus: With many unable to lipread due to face masks or unable to visit a hearing clinic in an emergency, our app provides a lifeline that will help people communicate.”
Globally there are 466 million people with disabling hearing loss. Hearing loss affects 11 million in the UK. The high costs of traditional hearing aids, and the fact that many people aren’t covered by their insurance or health service around the world, they are currently going untreated.
Dr Andrew Simpson, the founding scientist of ChatableApps, holds a PhD in auditory neural signal processing and has published widely on artificial intelligence and hearing topics. Working at the intersection of auditory neuroscience and artificial intelligence has led Dr Simpson to create VOXimity, which is real-time on-device speech processing.
Dr Simpson said: “Putting an auditory cortex on a smartphone has been a dream for a long time. As far as I know this is the most advanced real-time AI that has ever done so. It’s been a long road, but our preclinical trials reveal something of a medical breakthrough: a hearing aid that doesn’t need hearing tests and going straight into the hands of people who can’t afford a hearing aid.”
At pre-clinical trials where 86% reported that the ChatableApps universal hearing aid was better for conversation than their traditional hearing aid.