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Students develop software
to detect hearing problem

Farhana Chowdhury / 6 May 2010

DUBAI — Ever wanted to find out what’s the lowest level of sound you can hear? An aspiring team of four computer science students from the University of Wollongong in Dubai developed a model software that assesses your hearing level using an application that could be downloaded.

Based on a mobile platform, ‘Ear It’ has been devised in an attempt to spread awareness about hearing loss in the UAE and allow authorities tocollect statistics.

The concept was showcased at the Microsoft Gulf Imagine Cup held at Atlantis, the Palm on Monday, where the team won fourth place against teams from Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. The four Indian students will be representing the UAE in the worldwide finals to be held in Poland in July.

“We usually visit the doctor for an eye test or check how clear our ears is but we fail to give importance to checking if our hearing standards are on a par,” said Rashida Daruwala, one of the team members.

Checkups can be a costly affair and tend to drive some from having their hearing attended to. This is one of the reasons behind the team’s drive to incorporate low-cost and user-friendly software into a regularly used mobile device, according to Shawn Frank, another member of the team. 

“The user plugs in earphones and listens to a set of beeps at different decibels. He selects ‘yes’ and ‘no’ option according to how clearly and loudly he can hear a beep,” said Daruwala. She said the idea was tested with inputs from ENT specialist Dr Rana Batterjee of American Hospital.

The feature has an algorithm set which has a standard range for degree of hearing. After the user passes the listening step, results are shown per decibel to show the level at which the person can hear. The human ear can usually detect sounds within the range of 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. However, the ability to hear the lowest decibel decreases with age.

“We can use this application to detect hearing loss at an early stage and collect statistics on hearing impairment in the UAE,” said Daruwala.

She added that the software allows access to the Internet and a server can be set up and connected to government bodies or hospitals to collect information users send with just a click of a button.

The concept was showcased at the Microsoft Gulf Imagine Cup held at Atlantis, the Palm on Monday, where the team won fourth place against teams from Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman. The team will be representing the UAE in the worldwide finals to be held in Poland in July.

The Microsoft Gulf Imagine Cup challenges student programmers, designers and technologists to use their skills in aiding developmental goals and addressing world issues. In its eighth year, the theme set was ‘Imagine a world where technology helps solve the toughest problems’.

farhana@khaleejtimes.com

 

 
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