Hear, Hear: How Deep Learning Is Reinventing Hearing Aids

DeLiang Wang was in college when his mother began to lose her hearing in the 1980s. Today, she struggles to listen to and participate in a conversation, even with her hearing aids. Dinners with her large family are frustrating and, often, exhausting. At 91, she is “essentially deaf,” Wang said, because her hearing aids provide so little benefit that she seldom wears them. So Wang, now a professor computer science and engineering at Ohio State University, is building a better hearing aid, with some help from GPUs and deep learning. More than 75 percent of people who need hearing aids don’t wear them. Their biggest frustration: Hearing aids don’t work well in noisy situations. Hearing aid wearers struggle to pick out a single voice in a crowded room, a difficulty…


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