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Development of a Hearing Loss Screener and Personal Sound Amplification Device

Sharp, Jacalynn (2020) Development of a Hearing Loss Screener and Personal Sound Amplification Device. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This thesis describes the development of a functional prototype of a device that can both screen for disabling hearing loss and provide personal sound amplification. Disabling hearing loss has been linked to low quality of life and increased medical expenses. Although an estimated 38 million people in the United States live with unreported hearing loss, the practical standard of care does not include hearing screening. A low-cost, easy-to-use device is needed for clinical use that can 1) accurately screen for hearing loss in a noisy background, and, if needed, 2) provide personal amplification for the duration of the healthcare visit.
Clinician needs and feedback regarding ergonomic and human interface design were translated into mechanical and electrical functional requirements for hearing screening, background noise level checking, and amplification. The background noise level check assesses whether the room is too noisy to screen hearing, and in a sufficiently quiet room, a hearing screening is conducted to assess disabling hearing loss within 30 seconds. Real-world background noise data were recorded to inform development of the noise level assessment algorithm.
Prototype design comprised two major technical aims: a.) assessment of monitoring microphone placement; and b.) development of the control box, which conducts the background level check and screening operations. Custom printed circuit boards (PCBs) that included microelectromechanical (MEMS) microphones were designed, fabricated, and embedded into supra-aural headsets. After calibration of the headset speakers with a coupler system, performance of the microphones and headsets were characterized in an anechoic chamber. Development of the control box prototype involved combining an evaluation-style audio digital signal processing system, a microcontroller, and power electronics.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Sharp, Jacalynnjos149@pitt.edujos1490000-0002-6896-2164
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairVipperman,
Committee MemberBajaj,
Committee MemberPalmer,
Date: 11 January 2020
Defense Date: 18 December 2019
Approval Date: 29 September 2020
Submission Date: 12 February 2020
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 119
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Mechanical Engineering
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hearing Loss, Personal Sound Amplification
Date Deposited: 29 Sep 2021 05:00
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2022 05:15


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