Members of the SRM Institute of Science and Technology Student Branch are working in conjunction with Dr. M. G. R. Home and Higher Secondary School for the Speech and Hearing Impaired to create a kiosk-embedded device that is meant to assist children who are deaf and hard of hearing that have recently been given hearing aids or cochlear implants to potentially improve their hearing.
The application within the kiosk provides three levels of auditory help: auditory awareness, auditory discrimination, and language acquisition. There is a questionnaire that is administered before beginning each task, which allows the application to assess and assign levels to the children. The tasks will have varying levels of difficulty based on the sound intensity, distance, direction, etc., all of which are meant to support the children and even advance the strength of their hearing.
The actual setup of the kiosk provides a supportive environment for children. It accommodates seating for both the children and adult aid to access the touchscreen monitor and has speakers surrounding the seats. The sound provided is thus realistic. The kiosk has buttons on the screen, and with the microphone will be used to collect the responses from the children. The speakers will deliver instructions and stimuli. The device will also contain help and instructions in Tamil to assist.
The device is expected to require minimal maintenance. It has a minimum lifespan of five years. For its initial phase, 150 children at Dr. MGR’s School between 5 and 8 years old who have recently been given hearing aids will use the device. The second phase is another 5,000 children in surrounding locations with hopes for larger success in the future.
This project was provided a grant of $1,610 by EPICS in IEEE as part of the Access and Abilities Competition.