Facebook wants to help people with hearing difficulties through augmented reality

Reality Labs is investigating a new augmented reality system that can help people hear better. The idea is to improve people’s daily routines, whether working, playing or simply socializing. The use of augmented reality technology may be a “game changer”, especially for the population with hearing difficulties.

Facebook says that in the United States alone there are 30 million people with hearing loss and 446 million globally. And in places with too much noise, communication becomes even more complex and challenging, in addition to having to think harder on how to express yourself, causing reductions in memory, mental fatigue and other effects.

Although hearing aids amplify sound to help users hear, they also increase noise around them. Therefore, the new technologies allow combining Beamforming signals from wireless networks, with deep learning techniques, active noise cancellation and context recognition in the surroundings, so that augmented reality systems can help to define what they want to hear. To do this, the system isolates and improves the sound source, while reducing the surrounding noise.

By sending the enhanced signal and processed by augmented reality back to the auditory equipment, it will be possible to increase the volume of only the sounds you want to hear, and thus make conversations flow. Facebook points out, however, that augmented reality platforms aim to improve hearing aids, not replace them.

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