The goal of this Small Business Innovative Research project proposed to the National Institutes of Health, in particular the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, is the creation of a superior signal-receiving component in hearing aids. The proposed advanced magnetic-field pickup will increase the potential to wirelessly link the hearing aids with handheld electronic devices, allowing highly personalized and environmentally-specific sound filtering and amplification to take place within the software or apps on the handheld device. The proposed pickup uses magnetic tunnel junction (MTJ) technology to create a solid-state magnetic-field sensor, a receiver for magnetic signals broadcast from the handheld device. The proposed pickup is superior to the legacy telecoil in size, power consumption, and sensitivity over the full acoustic frequency spectrum. The component offers significant improvement to the acoustic signal quality, and enables a shift to simplify the in-ear signal processing needs, thus lowering hearing aid costs and increasing battery lifetime. The specific goals for the pre-prototype device are broadband response, a minimum detectable signal of 10 ?Oe/Hz1/2, and a power draw of less than 100 ?Watts in continuous operation. The device size is expected to be at or less than 1 mm on a side.
Advanced Magnetic Pickup for Hearing Aids Project Narrative The project goal will assist the hearing impaired by providing a higher quality of sound coming from standard hearing aids. Hearing aids equipped with the proposed component will be better able to pick up magnetic signals from telephones, electronic devices, and auditorium loop broadcasting. The component provides new links to computers and telecommunication devices.