Hearing Impairment Simulator

by G. Will Flathers '08,


It is estimated that up to 6 newborns per 1000 are born with congenital hearing loss. The purpose of this project is to assist the parents of these children by developing computer software that simulates the patient’s hearing for parent/ patient education and reassurance. In conjuncture with Dr. James Squire Ph.D. and Dr. Roger Ruth M.D., I have created an interactive computer program that is designed to be easy to use, widely distributed to the general public, and give parents a tool to help them understand children that have common hearing impairments. Parents, when armed with a greater, more experiential understanding of how the world sounds to their children, will be able to confidently raise and teach them. Users may record short sound clips onto the computer or select provided samples such as music, sirens, and voice. The program then uses the results of a standard audiogram from infant screening tests and any other audiologist’s data to create a personalized audio output that constructs what the patient actually hears. In addition to the primary goal of parent/ patient education, other possible benefits of the program include increased safety for hearing impaired children, improved teacher interaction with these children, and potential academic use as a teaching aid for medical students.

The Hearing Impairment Simulator was presented at the 2006 National Conference of Undergraduate Research and VMI’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, where it won second place in the poster competition, and was featured on WSLS Channel 10 News, Roanoke, on March 26, 2006.

audiology input findings screenshot