Sound software

A software algorithm developed at Tel Aviv University is claimed to improve speech recognition for the hard-of-hearing.

Hearing aids and cochlear implants act as tiny amplifiers so that the deaf and hard-of-hearing can make sense of voices and music. These devices also amplify background sound, so they are less effective in a noisy environment such as a busy workplace.


Prof Miriam Furst-Yust of Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering has developed a software algorithm named Clearcall for cochlear implants and hearing aids. It is claimed to improve speech recognition for the hard-of-hearing by up to 50 per cent, by filtering out irrelevant noise.


Based on a cochlear model that she devised, the patented technology is being developed to improve the capabilities of existing cochlear implants and digital hearing aids. Adding Clearcall to current technology is quite straightforward, said Furst-Yust, and only requires adding software to existing devices.


The software was originally developed for use in mobile phones, but Clearcall introduced distortions that people with healthy hearing found distracting. That is when Furst-Yust started applying the methodology to hearing aids.


Available for licencing through Tel Aviv University’s commercialisation company, Ramot, the software could become part of an existing implant or device in a matter of months.