An almost commodity hardware based mobile prototype of a hearing aid featuring the openMHA.org algorithm research software platform
* Presenting author
Access to internals of hearing aids is restricted for users, students, and researchers. This is due to limitations of the hardware (e.g., energy, size, and availability), due to liability issues of granting control to a medical device, and due to financial interests (protected IP). The recent publication of a free research platform for hearing aid algorithms, the open Master Hearing Aid (MHA), enables mobile research devices to which the before mentioned restrictions do not apply. A prototype of a hearing aid was build based on commodity hardware (including a Raspberry Pi 3 SOC, a low-latency stereo sound card, and in-ear headphones with integrated binaural microphones) and the openMHA. The whole setup fits in a belt bag, weighs less than 500g, operates several hours without charging, and is configurable via WIFI. Latencies of less than 10ms could be achieved running openMHA on Raspbian Linux. An SD-card image with a pre-configured software environment is provided. The affordable and flexible hardware allows establishing an infrastructure that enables the rapid implementation and unrestricted distribution of new algorithms for testing under field conditions. It has the potential to substantially grow the community of hearing technology developers and testers, and to increase the pace of development.