Insect-inspired microphone could revolutionise hearing aids
A microphone inspired by a fly’s hearing, which could improve hearing aid performance, has been created by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, with funding from BBSRC and EPSRC.
|11m||People in the UK have hearing loss|
|15m||People in the UK are predicted to have hearing loss by 2035|
|£24.8Bn||Loss to UK economy in 2013 because people with hearing loss were unable to work|
|0.5mm||Distance between the ears of the Ormia ochracea fly|
The microphone, inspired by the ears of the Ormia ochracea, a tiny parasitic fly with exceptional directional hearing, can distinguish whether a sound is coming from in front, behind, left or right. If incorporated into a hearing aid, it could allow the wearer to more easily pick out one voice in a conversation from background noise in loud environments.
Other directional microphones exist, but this one is smaller, simpler and can pick up the direction of sounds with a range of different pitches.
The researchers are working with scientists at the MRC/CSO Institute of Hearing Research - Scottish Section, based at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, to find a way create a hearing aid based on their microphone.
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