Varibel, the glasses that hear

Apr 07, 2006

Today a new hearing aid in the form of a pair of glasses was unveiled. These hearing-glasses are called 'Varibel' and offer older people the chance to stay active longer - free from the aesthetically unpleasing and technologically limited traditional hearing aids. Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands originally developed the hearing-glasses. Varibel developed these glasses into a consumer product in partnership with Philips, Frame Holland, the design agencies MMID and Verhoeven, and others.

Approximately 1,265,000 people in the Netherlands over the age of 60 are hearing impaired. Of these, half 22% (or around 275,000 people) use a hearing aid, but it is not always possible to hear others well if there is surrounding noise. Many hearing aids intensify sounds from all directions.

The result is that people hear noise, but not the people they are speaking to. Because people have such difficulty understanding what others are saying, many people - in spite of their hearing aid - have less social contact with others or must retire from their jobs earlier than desired. The hearing-glasses can provide a solution to this problem, say the experts and users who have tried and tested the Varibel.

The Varibel cannot be compared to traditional hearing aids. In each leg of the glass' frame there is a row of four tiny, interconnected microphones, which selectively intensify the sounds that come from the front, while dampening the surrounding noise. The result is a directional sensitivity of +8.2 dB. In comparison, regular hearing aids have a maximum sensitivity of +4 dB. With this solution, the user can separate the desired sounds from the undesired background noise.

Dr. Cor Stengs, ENT specialist involved in the clinical tests, said of the Varibel: "Practical experience with the hearing-glasses supports the theoretical claims that the ability to understand speech is much better. There is a significant improvement in the sound quality."

With Varibel, natural sounds can still be heard. This solution allows people to hear naturally and clearly in the direction in which they are looking. This has great advantages for daily life. Martin de Jong, audio-technician, says: "With the Varibel, the natural sounds that people enjoy are retained. This works surprisingly well. People can hear good and at the same time clearly – and especially in rooms such as in a cafe or at a birthday party."

Source: Delft University of Technology

Explore further: Ahead of Emmys, Netflix already winning online

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ahead of Emmys, Netflix already winning online

3 hours ago

Even if it doesn't take home any of the major trophies at Monday's Emmy Awards, Netflix will have already proven itself the top winner in one regard: Internet programming.

US warns shops to watch for customer data hacking

3 hours ago

The US Department of Homeland Security on Friday warned businesses to watch for hackers targeting customer data with malicious computer code like that used against retail giant Target.

SpaceX rocket explodes during test flight

4 hours ago

A SpaceX rocket exploded in midair during a test flight, though no one was injured, as the company seeks to develop a spacecraft that can return to Earth and be used again.

Official says hackers hit up to 25,000 US workers

4 hours ago

The internal records of as many as 25,000 Homeland Security Department employees were exposed during a recent computer break-in at a federal contractor that handles security clearances, an agency official said Friday.

Recommended for you

C2D2 fighting corrosion

19 hours ago

Bridges become an infrastructure problem as they get older, as de-icing salt and carbon dioxide gradually destroy the reinforced concrete. A new robot can now check the condition of these structures, even ...

Should you be worried about paid editors on Wikipedia?

22 hours ago

Whether you trust it or ignore it, Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites in the world and accessed by millions of people every day. So would you trust it any more (or even less) if you knew people ...

DESY and IBM develop big data architecture for science

23 hours ago

IBM today announced it is collaborating with Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), a leading national research center in Germany, to speed up management and storage of massive volumes of x-ray data. The ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

huuducho
not rated yet Mar 18, 2008
Hi,
This is Duc.
I need the varibel hearing eyeglasses.
Please tell me how I can buy it and cost.
Thank you.