BEARS applications prototypes

BEARS stands for both ears and is a
suite of applications that has been specifically designed for teenage
cochlear implant users, in order to train in terms of auditory training, spatial
localisation, speech understanding and improve their hearing functions using
bilateral cochlear implants. We have developed three prototypes within the BEARS suite. One is specifically looking at localisation training so sound sources and localisation One is looking at speech in noise training and the third one is looking at music listening training. Prototypes have been developed
within a project called 3D Tune-In, which was funded by the European Union and coordinated here at Imperial. We then received further funding from Imperial College Confidence in Concept to develop these application a little bit
further and most of all to be able to engage with some PPI groups composed by cochlear implant users, audiologists stakeholders and through a series of
meetings in a series of evaluation we then further developed the three BEARS
applications. This is the sound localisation training application. So, in this case we have a standard shooter game I need to identify where the robot or the alien is shooting at me and shoot by pressing your screen. In the first two levels I can actually see the alien but the more I go on, the more the visual presentation of the alien will become faded. So we need to rely only on the
auditory sense the sound source prominence changed depending on my head rotation. So, we have two versions of this. The first one that we developed relies on a head mounted display so it’s stereoscopic and you can basically mount it on your head
and obviously headphones and use these to shoot. The second version we created
relies on the iPad, actually we want to maintain both versions. We found that
some cochlear implant users didn’t work well with the virtual
reality. They felt dizzy and they prefer to use a screen like this. So we have
both versions same functionality. Simply in one case head mounted display the other one is a sort of a window in the virtual reality world. This is the Musiclarity application. It is our starting point for our music training app. It’s web-based so it works on every browser In this case we have a song going and we can for example change the position of the
various sound sources we can make them surrounding in different ways we can
spread them in front. We can actually move them individually, we can isolate
them, I can listen to the vocals only. I can move it left and right, different
distances. Similarly I can do for the guitars and etc so I can create my ideal
listening scenario in 3D. So, as I mentioned this is only the starting
point and we will develop this further into a video game. So, this is a speech in noise training game and we have some background masking and two target speech
in front if you want to listen to them I can interact with the position of the
soundscape of the position of my head through tracking this mobile device and
I simply need to make my choice on which word I heard and whether the second one
was on the left or on the right. Here I have my levels and score and lives The BEARS applications are specifically targeted to teenagers. Well, first of all
because it’s a very critical age and feedback from speech therapists outline that this is a very important time in the life of a person where you finish
school and you’re likely to go into further higher education or to go to a
working environment. You are often talking and living in noisy environments
and complex environments so it is very important to target this group and in
addition teenagers are very likely to engage with these kind of applications
and to potentially give us the feedback we need to further develop. So, in the last eight months we have managed to engage with groups of teenage cochlear
implant users and actually they have taken home some of our applications,
they’ve tried them and that giving us feedback and we’ve managed to measure
which levels they reached, how precise they were able to localise a sound sources and we have also carried out some more qualitative investigation so we’ve
discussed with them interviews and etc and this has contributed very heavily
to the development of the applications and the same approach is going to help
us further developing the other two applications and potentially creating
something that is more usable and can have more impact in the auditory
training and hearing training.

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