Living with hearing damage
What is it like to lose your hearing or suffer from tinnitus? Our brief for Dutch health insurance company Anderzorg was to design a product for an empathetic experience that can simulate hearing damage, and motivate people to better protect themselves.
To highlight the uncomfortable fact that hearing damage affects increasing numbers of young people every year, this device worked by reversing the function of a normal hearing aid and gave real-time auditory experience of what it is like to live with hearing loss and tinnitus.
We were responsible for the industrial design, production of the devices, sound design, and programming of the system.
We designed and 3D printed the earpieces, which are similar to a hearing aid but with a modern and relatable aesthetic of normal earphones, whilst ensuring they had good external noise isolation so that the processed sound can be experienced without interfering with the external sound.
We designed a variety of sounds to mimic the various types of tinnitus that sufferers hear. We also developed a system that records the external sounds, processes it with various effects and plays back to the earpiece (in real-time) the same sound whilst simulating various degrees of hearing loss. The wireless transmission allowed people to move about their normal activities, so they could truly experience the effect of hearing loss on daily life.