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Making life easier for children with hearing impairment

Supplier: Clarinox Technologies Pty Ltd
21 October, 2010

Cochlear is a world leader in hearing solutions, with many of the recipients being children. Cochlear wished to investigate the value of providing additional information to the carers of the children using the Cochlear products.

Hearing loss in children
Hearing loss in children is unfortunately not uncommon. Children with untreated hearing loss experience a variety of problems including problems with speech development, emotional difficulties and behaviour problems in school.

The treatment of hearing loss in children has been found to provide many benefits including:

  • closer relationships with their family and friends;
  • better feelings about themselves and higher self-esteem;
  • improved mental health, greater selfconfidence, independence, and security'
  • learning skills equal to children with normal hearing.

For carers
In everyday life children are cared for by a number of people, including their parents and other relatives, their teachers and child minding personnel.

Of these the teachers often have the challenging position of minding a number of children with additional needs simultaneously whilst having the obligation to provide learning outcomes. It was these teachers that Cochlear had in mind when they decided to test the value of providing diagnostic information from the Cochlear product direct to the teacher's mobile phone.

Wireless data transfer
Bluetooth was used in addition to the Cochlear proprietary low power wireless to transfer information first from the hearing product to an intermediate device and then from that device to a standard mobile phone.

Clarinox role
Clarinox provided the porting and integration services for the required hardware and software for a proof of concept.

The work involved the development of an intermediate gateway that could translate between the proprietary Cochlear protocol and standard Bluetooth. For this device Clarinox worked on an ARM7 platform and with
both the Cochlear protocol and the Clarinox Bluetooth protocol stack.

Additionally Clarinox developed an advanced user interface as well as the back end software and Bluetooth protocol software for a Windows Mobile platform on standard mobile phone.

Customer comment
"The rapid development of a demonstration wireless system provided our business with new ways of looking at things and new opportunities for growth," explaine a Cochlear representative.

Future plans
The project provided a prototype unit to demonstrate and test the concept. Future plans involve investigation of other required functionality and alternative ways to provide functionality to reach the largest number of users.