Science

TV sound system creates a loud spot in the room for people with hearing loss

TV sound system creates a loud...
The line array being tested at the University of Southampton's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research
The line array being tested at the University of Southampton's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research
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The line array being tested at the University of Southampton's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research
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The line array being tested at the University of Southampton's Institute of Sound and Vibration Research

It's a classic situation ... a family is watching TV, but in order for the grandparents to be able to hear it, the volume is turned up too loud for everyone else's liking. A PhD student from the University of Southampton, however, might have a solution. Marcos Simón has developed a speaker system that projects high-volume audio to just one spot in the room.

Simón's system is designed to compensate for the hearing loss typically experienced by 70 year-old individuals.

It consists of an array of eight acoustical radiators (loudspeakers, essentially) arranged in a line, which work together to focus a "hot spot" of sound to a specific area. In tests of the array, it boosted partially-deaf listeners' ability to make out played-back human speech by about 30 percent. Non-deaf test subjects who were seated nearby but not in the hot spot, meanwhile, heard the same speech at a comfortable volume.

Simón notes that while other "line arrays" have been studied previously, they've required a second set of acoustic radiators in the rear, to cancel out stray sound waves that were emitted from the back of the primary set. This would make the technology fairly impractical to commercialize.

By contrast, the radiators used in his array are specifically designed not to require such a setup.

Source: University of Southampton

2 comments
flink
It often isn't just that the volume is too low for the person with degraded hearing, but background noises that are the culprits. ACs, fans, forced air heating, outside traffic noise, food frying, running water, kids chattering while they play, etc.
Sometimes just placing a soundbar beneath or behind furniture where the person sits is sufficient solve the issue.
Slowburn
Fazed array speakers cool.
@ flink Me and my deaf mother disagree with you.