As more people are moving away from using a traditional landline phone and solely using a cellphone, the noise conditions in which those calls are made can often be unsuitable for a clearly understood conversation – especially for those who may have slight hearing impairments. Germany’s Fraunhofer-Institut however thinks they have solved the problem with the release of their new iPhone app AuditoryVoIP.
Hearing research scientists with the Oldenburg Project Group for Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT have developed this app to improve “speech intelligibility for internet phone calls made using Voice over IP technology.” AuditoryVoIP not only allows for a full range of adjustments to the call’s loudness and sound settings, but it is also able to compensate for slight to moderate hearing loss.
Once a user customizes their ideal settings for phone calls, the app then uses an “intelligent signal processing module then optimizes all incoming calls to match this hearing profile.” Calls that would normally sound distorted, muffled, or lost in a sea of other noises will adjust to an easily understandable conversation.
“The new feature of our technology is that the telephone signal is not optimized to a standard technical value, but to the user’s personal hearing preferences. With our solution, it does not matter whether a person with normal hearing has certain sound preferences or whether the user suffers from a medically diagnosed hearing impairment,” Jan Rennies of the Project Group Hearing, Speech and Audio Technology explains. “However, AuditoryVoIP does not have the functional scope of a hearing aid. The technology is specifically optimized for the frequency range of a telephone signal.”
Although the app may look a little dated, this is still another one of the great audio advancements to come out of the Fraunhofer-Institut recently, and if you want to give the app a try, it is available on the App Store for $4.99. However, AuditoryVoIP is not a VoIP service and does require that users have an active account with a SIP provider to use the app.