An almost commodity hardware based mobile prototype of a hearing aid featuring the openMHA algorithm research software platform
* Presenting author
Scientific progress and the validation of experimental results depend on the availability of knowledge and tools. However, access to the internals of hearing aids is restricted for users, students, and researchers due to limitations of the hardware, liability issues with medical devices, and economic interests. The recent publication of a free and open research platform for hearing aid algorithms, the open Master Hearing Aid (MHA), allows to build research devices to which the mentioned restrictions do not apply. A mobile prototype of a hearing aid was built based on commodity hardware which runs the openMHA in real-time. Latencies of 5ms could be achieved. Instructions for building the prototype as well as an SD-card image with a pre-configured software environment are provided on a community website (https://github.com/m-r-s/hearingaid-prototype/). The prototype may serve as a baseline for comparisons with real devices in field tests as well as for teaching purposes. Many of the challenges with hearing devices can be studied including latency, calibration, fitting, effect of occlusion, acoustic feedback, audible artifacts, speech and music perception. The affordable and flexible hardware allows the rapid implementation and unrestricted distribution of new algorithms for testing under field conditions across labs and beyond the usual target groups.