Hearing loss is a no-trivial health condition. According to data from the World Health Organization, over 1.5 billion worldwide live with hearing loss. Moreover, this number could increase to over 2.5 billion by 2050.
Sounds alarming? Well, the United States-based technology company Intel is stepping up to the plate to help combat this debilitating health condition.
Technology for people suffering from hearing loss
Intel announced yesterday it has partnered with IT company Accenture to create a technology that will help people suffering from hearing loss.
“Technology is integral to helping people with disabilities live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. Within Intel, there is a movement to improve accessibility for people with hearing loss from multiple angles,” Intel said in its official news release. “Several projects are ongoing at Intel to increase access to assistive devices and improve their integration with other technologies.”
Together with Accenture, Intel created the technology known as 3DP4ME, which uses 3D printing to bring assistive technology to people in poorer countries, such as those with hearing loss.
3DP4ME is an Intel RISE Technology Initiative partner. RISE is a project within Intel that aims to create a more responsive, inclusive, and sustainable planet, enabled by technology, and the expertise and passion of Intel’s teams of employees.
RISE’s 3DP4ME is now piloting in Jordan, where it takes scans of children’s ears and prints custom-fitted hearing aids for them. 3D printing is helping enhance how this technology works since it is a faster and less expensive printing process compared with traditional methods.
Founder of 3DP4ME, Jason Szolomayer, said, “Previous work to provide hearing aids to children included hand-making the custom ear molds. It was a craft that was labor-intensive, and you could only make four or five hearing aids a day. There were long wait times, even after the kids were tested. Using 3D printing allows us to scale up the service we provide to families and kids who need hearing aids.”
The ultimate goal is to scale this innovation to reach thousands of people who need this and democratize hearing solutions worldwide.
Intel’s CEO and his hearing aid
This is the perfect project for Intel since its CEO, Pat Gelsinger, 62, also uses a hearing aid. This becomes a motivation for the project’s proponents, as Gelsinger works to drive awareness of the importance of these kinds of technology.
“Technology is becoming increasingly central to every aspect of human existence. In this digital era, we will witness a true magic of technology, accelerated by the help of what I call the ‘tech superpowers’ – computing, connectivity, infrastructure, artificial intelligence, and particularly important to us today, sensing,” Gelsinger said in a statement.
He added that these technologies and devices could increasingly sense the world, helping “see things we can’t see, hear what we can’t hear, and identify objects for us.” They are augmenting people’s realities in new and exciting ways.