Quadio's Q+ Hearing Aid
This Android and iOS app can turn your smartphone into a hearing aid.
Innovative hearing solution. Great use of a phone that's always with you. Made by experts.
Vulnerable to problems that are outside the control of the app.
Quadio, a Pune-based company that designs hearing aids and audiometry solutions, has come up with an app that turns a phone into a hearing aid.
Available free (for now) on Android and iOS, Q+ Hearing Aid, as the app is called, is a quick download. Once it's in the smartphone, the user must plug in a pair of earphones -- the higher quality the better.
The first thing to be done is to take a hearing test and save the resulting audiogram. The test starts by making sure you hear some loud white noise from the left or right as indicated. It then senses the sound around you and tells you whether it's quiet enough for you to take the audio test.
One side at a time, you're presented with beeps of various pitches and intensity levels. You press a bar when you can hear the beep. Once you're done with 100% for each side, your audiogram is ready. Quad it recommends that you show the audiogram to a specialist to get advice. You can also mail it to Quadio for an opinion.
Quadio makes no pretentious about the audiogram being flawless. The quality of the earphones, the playback from the phone, the ambient noise, and other factors can all influence the results. So, take it as a rough guide and go through several tests if you like.
But once you agree to let the audio profile be used, you move into the hearing aid part of the app. Here, you can choose whether you want a flat sharp or heavy sound profile. You can also manually select many settings for clarity and to reduce noise or the sound of your own voice. And yes, you can now hear sounds and voices right into your ear.
As someone who isn't hearing impaired, I can't be sure what it really is like compared with a hearing aid but Quadio is a maker of hearing aids and testing this app out on a patient said he'd all but given up on the hearing aid and switched to the app.
I did find myself wishing the sound was all louder and that there was less distortion, which could well have been from my iffy earphone cable, but Quadio did say they will continue to improve the solution. In time, it will be a paid solution, but just INR 500 for a lifetime.
Quadio was started up in 2009 by IIT graduates Paresh Patel and Anurag Sharma, to develop 'hearing solutions'.
Lila Ray is a corporate consultant who loves her gadgets almost as much as she loves her shoes. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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