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Second Biennial Hearing Aid Research and Development Conference

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September 22-24, 1997
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland

Oticon's JUMP-1 Scheme: Offering a Flexible Digital Hearing Aid for Open Research

Graham Naylor and Claus Elberling, Oticon Research Centre, Kongevejen 243, DK-3070 Snekkersten, Denmark

Oticon's recently released fully digital behind-the-ear hearing aid provides very attractive new possibilities for some areas of hearing aid research, far beyond Oticon's capacity to exploit them. In particular, comparisons of hearing aid algorithms in field use are facilitated, as (i) problems associated with bulky devices are avoided and (ii) algorithms for comparison can be programmed into the same physical device, eliminating confounding variables which often arise when using off-the-shelf commercial aids.

The commercial version of Oticon's digital aid and its accompanying programming software provide only restricted user access to the signal processing variables in the underlying hardware. Special versions of the hardware and software have therefore been developed for research use. This package has been offered to a number of academic research groups, for them to use in their own research (i.e. not dictated or financed by Oticon).

This presentation discusses the framework chosen for the scheme, progress to date, and the pros and cons for both Oticon and recipient research groups. The aim is to show that such an open approach can be advantageous to both parties and to the wider community of hearing aid researchers. A number of highly flexible digital ear-level hearing aids are making their appearance, and it is worth considering how the approach outlined here, if widely adopted, might affect the methodology of hearing aid research and its relevance for the end-user.


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