Open hardware and software standards

This is the 7th part of my wishlist to audiologists and accousticians, hearing aid manufacturers, and the health care system. If you like to add something, share your experiences, or provide more information, I encourage you to submit a comment.

This goes along with the 2nd point of my wishlist. Hearing aids and peripheral hardware should be compatible independent of the vendors. For this, standards for hardware and software have to be established. Those standards should be public. This would make the hearing aid market more open and lively since it would open doors for new companies and open source projects to develop hardware and software that is compatible to the established vendor’s devices and as such attractive for the customers.

It would make the market more competitive, (hopefully) leading to more customer-friendliness, maybe even cost-reduction and especially to a market that reacts faster to developments in the general consumer electronics market than it currently does. The market would be open for small companies that cannot offer a full portfolio like the established ones, but might specialize in a niche that is desperately missed by the patients so far.

Open standards would also enable skilled patients to improve their hearing aids themselves. I am dreaming of the day that I can write my own signal processing algorithm against the application programming interface (API) of my hearing aid and thus regain power over (the electronic parts of) my body again.

See also the next point on my wishlist: Offer tuning in realistic circumstances, legalize and support self-tuning. Or the previous one: Affordable hearing aids and full insurance coverage for devices and peripheral hardware and maintenance costs

2 thoughts on “Open hardware and software standards

  1. I think this is really important. I find it terribly frustrating that my choice of hearing aid also limits my choice of accessories and locks me in.

  2. Whoops, posted comment a bit fast. Open standards might also allow us to make our smartphone and other devices interact more directly with our hearing aids. How about an app that could give sound coming out of your phone the same treatment as your hearing aid for those two-hour conference calls?

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