Transforming Technological Solutions for Hearing Loss 

Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Robotics is the first research centre of its kind in Scotland. It brings together our ground-breaking foundational work in developing new methods in AI and robotics and our pioneering research into trustworthy and ethical systems to deliver cutting-edge applications in a range of high-impact societal areas.

Problem

Over 12 million people in the UK (approximately 1.5 billion globally) are affected by hearing loss, costing the NHS around £0.5billion annually. Hearing aids represent the most widely used technologies to compensate for the majority of hearing losses, however, currently only 40% of people who could benefit from hearing aids have them, and most people who have the devices don't use them often enough.

Solution

The COG-MHEAR initiative aims to transform hearing care by 2050, by completely re-thinking the way hearing aids are designed. This groundbreaking interdisciplinary work aims to integrate cognitive principles, multi-modal sensory input and utilise innovative technologies. Prof Amir Hussain, Director of the Centre of AI and Robotics is leading a UKRI EPSRC funded multi-million pound programme grant in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Wolverhampton, Heriot-Watt University, University of Manchester, and the University of Nottingham.

 

Groundbreaking academic-industry collaboration to revolutionise hearing aid design 

The COG-MHEAR project is a programme grant funded by the EPSRC Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050, which brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts with complementary skills in cognitive data science, speech technologies, wireless communications, engineering, sensing, and clinical hearing science.

The world-class academic research team is a collaboration of universities across the UK, being led by Edinburgh Napier University, and complemented by a strong user group comprising clinical and industrial partners and end-users. These range from leading global hearing aid manufacturers (Sonova), wireless research and standardisation drivers (Nokia Bell-Labs), chip design SME (Alpha Data), national innovation centres (Digital Health & Care Institute), The Data Lab, and charities (Deaf Scotland and Action on Hearing Loss).

Using our eyes and advanced technology to help us hear

The COG-MHEAR project approach draws on the cognitive principles of normal hearing. Listeners naturally combine information from both their ears and eyes – i.e., we use our eyes to help us hear. The COG-MHEAR project is creating ‘multi-modal’ aids, which not only amplify sounds, but also use information collected from a range of sensors to improve understanding of speech. For example, a large amount of information about the words said by a person is conveyed in visual information, in the movements of the speaker's lips, hand gestures, and similar.

This is ignored by current hearing aids and could be fed into the speech enhancement process. Wearable sensors, embedded within the hearing aid itself could be used to estimate listening effort and its impact on the person, and used to tell whether the speech enhancement process is actually helping or not.

The COG-MHEAR programme is continuing to shape the global hearing research landscape, with the research published in prestigious scientific journals and presented and showcased at world-leading international workshops and conferences.

We are trying to develop revolutionary hearing aids that can read lip movements and other types of visual cues that people detect in natural conversations, such as facial expressions and hand gestures.
Professor Amir Hussain, Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Edinburgh Napier University

Transforming Technological Solutions for Hearing Loss 

Edinburgh Napier University’s Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Robotics is the first research centre of its kind in Scotland. It brings together our ground-breaking foundational work in developing new methods in AI and robotics and our pioneering research into trustworthy and ethical systems to deliver cutting-edge applications in a range of high-impact societal areas.

Problem

Over 12 million people in the UK (approximately 1.5 billion globally) are affected by hearing loss, costing the NHS around £0.5billion annually. Hearing aids represent the most widely used technologies to compensate for the majority of hearing losses, however, currently only 40% of people who could benefit from hearing aids have them, and most people who have the devices don't use them often enough.

Solution

The COG-MHEAR initiative aims to transform hearing care by 2050, by completely re-thinking the way hearing aids are designed. This groundbreaking interdisciplinary work aims to integrate cognitive principles, multi-modal sensory input and utilise innovative technologies. Prof Amir Hussain, Director of the Centre of AI and Robotics is leading a UKRI EPSRC funded multi-million pound programme grant in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Wolverhampton, Heriot-Watt University, University of Manchester, and the University of Nottingham.

 

Groundbreaking academic-industry collaboration to revolutionise hearing aid design 

The COG-MHEAR project is a programme grant funded by the EPSRC Transformative Healthcare Technologies for 2050, which brings together an interdisciplinary team of experts with complementary skills in cognitive data science, speech technologies, wireless communications, engineering, sensing, and clinical hearing science.

The world-class academic research team is a collaboration of universities across the UK, being led by Edinburgh Napier University, and complemented by a strong user group comprising clinical and industrial partners and end-users. These range from leading global hearing aid manufacturers (Sonova), wireless research and standardisation drivers (Nokia Bell-Labs), chip design SME (Alpha Data), national innovation centres (Digital Health & Care Institute), The Data Lab, and charities (Deaf Scotland and Action on Hearing Loss).

Using our eyes and advanced technology to help us hear

The COG-MHEAR project approach draws on the cognitive principles of normal hearing. Listeners naturally combine information from both their ears and eyes – i.e., we use our eyes to help us hear. The COG-MHEAR project is creating ‘multi-modal’ aids, which not only amplify sounds, but also use information collected from a range of sensors to improve understanding of speech. For example, a large amount of information about the words said by a person is conveyed in visual information, in the movements of the speaker's lips, hand gestures, and similar.

This is ignored by current hearing aids and could be fed into the speech enhancement process. Wearable sensors, embedded within the hearing aid itself could be used to estimate listening effort and its impact on the person, and used to tell whether the speech enhancement process is actually helping or not.

The COG-MHEAR programme is continuing to shape the global hearing research landscape, with the research published in prestigious scientific journals and presented and showcased at world-leading international workshops and conferences.

This is my first project with Edinburgh Napier, and I am impressed with the bandwidth of different skills - it’s very open and easy to bring them all into one project. If you have a problem which is difficult and requires interdisciplinary activity, Edinburgh Napier is a very good place to go.
Peter Derleth, Principal Expert, Sonova

Our Centre for Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Robotics

A world-class interdisciplinary hub of academics and experts leading groundbreaking  data-driven, AI and robotics research. Addressing problem-driven and theoretically underpinned research and innovation across a range of real-world applications. 

Find out more about the Centre here