A bioengineer has developed a “DIY hearing aid” kit that costs about $1 to make. An article profiling Saad Bhamla’s invention appears in Science Magazine.
According to the article, Bhamla was inspired to create the low-cost solution for his maternal grandparents, who suffered from age-related hearing loss. Bhamla and his team “soldered a microphone onto a small circuit board to capture nearby sound and added an amplifier and a frequency filter to specifically increase the volume of high-pitch sounds above 1000 Hz. Then they added a volume control, an on/off switch, and an audio jack for plugging in standard earphones, as well as a battery holder.” The “LoCHAid” is matchbox-sized and can be worn around the neck.
For about $15-$20, Bhamla says that anyone can recreate the device at home with online blueprints, a soldering iron, and easy-to-find parts.
According to the article, the LoCHAid was found in tests to boost the volume of high-pitch sounds by 15 dB, while preserving low-pitch volumes. A drawback, notes the article, was that the device is unable to be customized to individual needs and/or other hearing issues.
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Source: Science Magazine