Loss of hearing affects the quality of life for individuals. The number of Americans with hearing loss is increasing as baby boomers age and younger citizens damage their hearing with personal audio devices. By 2025, approximately 40 million Americans are projected to be hearing impaired, an increase of 23% from current numbers. Hearing loss may be treated, but at a cost. Only 25% of the hearing impaired in the United States use electronic devices to improve their hearing, with quality hearing aids retailing from $2000 to $3000. Customer satisfaction reports show that ongoing expenses and battery life are two of the biggest concerns. This SBIR project by Packet Digital will advance the commercialization of a revolutionary "just-enough/just-in- time" power management solution that will extend battery life in hearing aid products. Packet Digital's patented On-Demand Power(R) technology monitors entire systems to determine power needs and adjusts energy delivery accordingly. We have proven this method to provide the greatest efficiency in power consumption and battery life. By applying our technology to hearing aid products, we believe we can deliver a 20% to 40% battery life extension for hearing aid users. Current power management solutions for hearing aids implement software-commanded power management methodologies, with dedicated code written to conserve energy. Packet Digital's revolutionary hardware-based approach produces less latency and drives system-wide energy savings through a real-time approach that is independent of usage models. Our autonomous, hardware-based approach is also easier to implement because it's less complex and requires less integration than traditional power management methods. In Phase I, we will demonstrate the feasibility of our power management solution for hearing aid products. Objectives of our Phase I research include: 7 Documenting the architecture, power demand, and operation of hearing aids and hearing products 7 Developing algorithms that automatically determine the energy demand of hearing product circuitry 7 Demonstrate results of autonomous power management on a hearing product prototype In the Phase II effort, we will iteratively refine the advancements made during Phase I to deliver and prove a 20% to 40% battery life extension in a hearing product prototype. To accomplish this, we will develop a silicon prototype of an autonomous power management circuit that will be integrated into a hearing aid demonstrator.

Public Health Relevance

Packet Digital proposes to drive commercialization of an advanced power management solution that will extend battery life in hearing aids and hearing products by 20% to 40%. We will research the feasibility of and design a prototype for integrating our revolutionary On-Demand Power technology into a hearing aid device. By doing so, we hope to reduce two of the biggest sources of dissatisfaction amongst hearing aid wearers - ongoing costs and battery life.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase II (R44)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IMST-A (12))
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Miller, Roger
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Packet Digital, LLC
United States
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