A hearing aid that can be worn like spectacles

In news that will come as music to the ears of those with partial hearing loss, two Bengaluru-based students have developed a hearing aid that can be worn like spectacles, thereby addressing a major issue with hearing aids: social stigma.

Nishanth Shastry and Rakshanda B Reddy, second-year Electronics and Communication students from MVJ College of Engineering, are the brains behind the fashionable device, BoCo.Aid, which doesn’t need to be inserted into the ear.

The device works on a bone conduction transfuser system, which is installed in the device. 

In simple terms, a coil in the device gathers sound. Adjacent to it is a plate which vibrates and passes it onto the temporal bone, which sends it to the cochlea enabling a person to hear. 

Speaking to DH, Shastry said since the device doesn’t need insertion in the ear, it would help patients who have an issue with the auditory canal.

However, the limitation is that one would not be able to use it in case of senso-neural damage or damage to the cochlea.

“We worked in consultation with a few ENT specialists around Bengaluru. We have a prototype and hope to approach the industry soon,” Shastry said.

Shastry, who hails from Mangaluru, said he conceptualised the device even before he entered college. 

Social stigma

One of the major concerns the students hope to address is stigma. “When someone has a problem with seeing and wears spectacles, it is not seen as an impairment. Yet, when someone cannot hear and wears an aid, there is a stigma associated with it,” he said.

The device will be broader than conventional glasses at the rim in order to accommodate hardware. The battery operated device will function for about 12 hours and can be recharged.

The duo hope to make the device available for about Rs 10,000.

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