Google is using AI to build personalised Assistive Hearing Devices

First time in this Forum! Thanks!

I’ve seen it before. My take then was that Alphabet was just spreading some money around in a sort of non-directed support-local-science-projects kind of way. Hopefully I was wrong and it’s a bit more than that. I’ve hit a paywall with Wired, so I can’t read it again. Alphabet had their own in-house project along these lines (Project Wolverine) that seems to have sunk without a trace.

Edit: According to Google's moonshot factory is coming down to Earth, Wolverine was spun off in 2022. So many new players in this space it makes your head spin.


It was spun off into this.

The computing power is certainly impressive and especially the process size (4nm) To borrow the old quote attributed to Yogi Berra “Predictions are hard, especially about the future,” but it seems feasible that at sometime in the future hearing aids might use generic hardware and the differentiation would be all about the software. If that happens, some forum members will really scream about pricing.

If you can, try Bypass Paywalls Clean extension for firefox/chrome.


Thanks @flashb1024. Now that we’re all enabled, here’s a paywalled article about iyo. Iyo, the Startup From Google X, Challenges High-End Audio Devices

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Those devices look weird as fuck. I can’t wait for this market being disrupted as it’s getting more stagnant with each year.
My 6k$ hearing devices shouldn’t be worse for streaming/music than my 100$ earbuds, there’s no technological reason for that.
There are mics on the market, which can completely eliminate noise and just leave the nearby voices, quite naturally at that…
Hearing devices are seriously lagging behind.


They don’t look very comfortable either. Is that battery or processing power in all that hardware?

I think disruption is happening right now in slo-mo. People tend to roll their eyes at the otc hearing aid space. It hasn’t been a tsunami but I think there’s a rising tide of innovation. Check back again in a couple of years I guess.

I dunno? With all the body piercing goin’ on these days, that might just look like some cool earrings!
Just sayin’ :sunglasses:

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The disk outside is a small computer [closer to a one in a smartphone than in hearing device, it’s detachable], I doubt that it’s light enough to not to cause discomfort with prolonged wear. The part inside the ear is custom molded so it should be quite comfortable,

I’ve said it’s a shame apple wasn’t interested in hearing aids.


Thanks for posting this.



There could be several possible reasons why expensive hearing devices may perform worse for streaming music or audio compared to relatively inexpensive earbuds. Here are some potential explanations:

  1. Design priorities: Hearing aids are primarily designed to amplify and process speech sounds to improve hearing and communication for individuals with hearing impairments. They may not prioritize features or optimizations for music streaming or audio quality as much as consumer earbuds designed specifically for music listening.

  2. Frequency response: Hearing aids often have a limited frequency response range, focusing on the most important frequencies for speech intelligibility (around 500 Hz to 4 kHz). This narrower range may not capture the full spectrum of music, leading to a less immersive or dynamic audio experience compared to earbuds with a wider frequency response.

  3. Sound processing: Hearing aids employ advanced sound processing algorithms to improve speech clarity and reduce background noise. While these features are beneficial for speech, they may inadvertently distort or alter music signals, leading to a less natural or accurate audio reproduction.

  4. Compression and amplification: Hearing aids often use compression and amplification techniques to make sounds more audible for the user. However, these processes can introduce distortions or artifacts that may be more noticeable when listening to music compared to speech.

  5. Bluetooth connectivity: Some hearing aids may have limitations in their Bluetooth connectivity or codecs used for wireless audio streaming, resulting in higher latency, lower bitrates, or audio quality degradation compared to earbuds designed specifically for music streaming over Bluetooth.

  6. Power constraints: Hearing aids are designed to be power-efficient and have limited battery life. This may restrict the implementation of more advanced audio processing or higher-quality audio codecs that could improve music streaming performance.

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  1. Whether the user wears open domes of fully occluded molds. The more open the fitting, the more sound escapes from the ear canal



My dispensing audi had me in open domes. i had complained for a long time I couldn’t hear. I discovered it by putting an index finger in each ear (I have receiver in canal hearing aids by Phonak. Paradise P90’s.) The signal was much louder; I could hear better. He had been setting up my hearing aids for almost two years (they are 2-1/2 years old now)
BAck to AI

I think strongly that AI will help incompetent fitters the most. Once it’s in the hearing aids we shall finally have smart hearing aids. Now it’s hit or miss depending on who does the setup.

Finally, we have incredible professionals here who help so much. I salute you all.


Incredible post.

Somewhere on this site Ihave a few questions I asked of AI (Bing). I had issues with my dispensing audis lack of knowledge. Asking questions of AI I had answers within 2 seconds that showed real understanding. I kept asking questions.

I wish I could find that post to add a link here. Frankly I was truly impressed. Someday our “smart” hearing aids will set themselves up. Frankly I don’t know why there isn’t an APP that allows us to do that. The myPhonak APP should be modified to do so.

I played with my Phonak Audeo Paradise P90’s all the way to work today. I tried each program twice. I’m angry.

@Zebras thanks for posting. You help so much.

All of these sound more like excuses than anything.

  1. The times have changed,now we have streaming and we expect more. Users have varied degrees of impairment and varying needs too.
  2. Apparently you cannot understand speech through full bandwidth earbuds…
  3. You usually have separate profiles for music, modern HAs also auto-detect and switch in the presence of music.
    You’re perfectly aware [I hope] that consumer audio earbuds/headphones can do noise-cancelling too.
  4. Again, separate profiles for music solve this.
  5. That might have been true year ago but nowadays we have LE Audio which is identical to what recent Hi-Fi audio devices use.
  6. Have you seen AirPods? modern RICs are usually more than twice the volume and have receivers outside

I worked in manufacturing with 3M for 15 years.

Worldwide company. We were told that we had to produce product cheaper in Canada if we wanted to produce a jumbo of tape or sandpaper.

It’s all about profit. You can be sure they created a good environment inside, as long as you fit in. But they didn’t pay me well nor did I get good benefits. I found better employment. After 15 years there.

I’m sure that making hearing aids is the same. An author reported that it only costs $100 to make the hearing aids we wear. That’s not the real cost. I’m sure that they know exactly what the research costs. Same author reported a US manufacturer produced the first digital hearing aids. He talked of innovative research and features in competitors’ product.

today I wore my Phonak Audeo Paradise P90R’s to work in my car. There was so much noise! I tried to find a program that worked better! Got to work and cooked the program I was in using myPHonak. Made it sound better. I’m still in it…At lunch I switched domes. From Large Power Domes (because they were too noisy!) to Medium Power Domes (to see if my cooked program is better with the reduced sound level I experience with Medium Power Domes. “Speech in Loud Noise 1” is the name I’ve assumed to the program.

And little voice is saying, “This is horse-you-know-what” my hearing aids should work better.

I’m really looking forward to AI. Let’s make hearing aids that are idiot proof and work.

Saying again–Mr Phonak I’m first in line for a focus group of individuals you will find most helpful trying state-of-the-art hearing aids. We need good hearing aids that your audis can setup better! It’s all about profits!

What research? It’s been plateauing for years and there’s barely any. Most of the incremental progress is from ready-made features that are adapted to HAs.


We all face the same problems with price

Mine was more serious. The selling Audi didn’t set them up right.

I had to leave. My new practitioner has helped somuch!

This. Almost all earbuds occlude.