According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 5% of the world’s population is affected by disabling hearing loss. In the US alone, it is estimated that 35 million people have some level of hearing loss, but only 28% of that population has a hearing aid. Many people in the developed world have expressed that they avoid using a hearing aid because of how they look, the difficulty there is in tuning them, and frustration with time and money spent buying and replacing batteries.
These frustrations are not confined to the United States, and have led an Australian research team to develop a device called Facett which should help to eliminate some of the barriers that people face when deciding whether or not to use a hearing aid, as Elaine Saunders, Adjunct Professor at Swinburne University of Technology and co-developer of the device, explained:
The self-management comes in the form of a ‘core’ that will allow a wearer to make adjustments to their hearing aid using a tablet, computer, or smartphone, rather than having to visit an audiologist. The bi-component device consists of this programmable core and a module that contains the rechargeable batteries that power it. An essential part of developing this world’s first technology was in the development of a low-power, wireless control system that would create the necessary communication between the hearing aid itself and whichever device the user wishes to use to operate it. That portion of the design was created early on as part of the research of Swinburne PhD candidate Jonathon Miegel, and 3D printing was essential for its ability to cheaply and quickly allow him to prototype and redesign, as he described:
“This is a huge leap in progress for the four million Australians suffering hearing loss, many of whom aren’t using hearing aids because of appearance, repeated and frustrating visits to suppliers for hearing aid tuning and the inconvenience and complexity of changing batteries. Facett is a true collaboration between science and design. It’s part of a digital health system that empowers people to self-manage their hearing experience.”
“I provided multiple designs for the modular connections, each of which provided different features aimed at improving the strength of the connection between modules without making the hearing aid too difficult to manipulate. The design and prototyping process was carried out in rapid iterations using a combination of computer-aided design software and various types of 3D printing.”
This device should go a long way toward eliminating the barriers to using a hearing aid for those who could benefit from the technology, as Swinburne continues to devote resources to advances.
3D printing has enabled many innovations in hearing aid technology, in both prototyping and production, and this latest device serves as another example of the speed and efficiency possible to benefit those with hearing loss, as the bulk of the hearing aid industry has turned to additive manufacturing.
What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below.[Source: Swinburne University of Technology]
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
3D Printing Industry Worth $13.5B, Will Reach $25B by 2025
According to its latest market data, SmarTech Analysis estimates that the 3D printing industry grew at a rapid pace of about 23% in 2022, reaching $13.5 billion. This number specifically...
SmarTech Releases First Report on Emerging 3D Printing Technologies and OEMs
Key technologies like 3D printing are among the driving forces behind digital transformation in manufacturing. Today, additive manufacturing (AM) platform options go beyond the two historically dominant and pioneering players...
3D Printing Media Outlet 3Dnatives Bought by Largest Plastics Organization, SPE
In one of the latest moves in the 3D printing industry, the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) has acquired the French online media platform 3Dnatives. The move comes as the...
Velo3D Metal AM Webinar Powered by 3DPrint.com
3DPrint.com will host a new Velo3D (NYSE: VLD) webinar titled “Unlocking the Potential of Metal AM: Strategies for Scaling Production with Velo3D” to discuss the roadblocks to successfully scaling metal...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.