Increasing awareness on hearing loss in adults

Bruce Walker
Diego Osorio

Hearing loss is an invisible condition, and from which only its effects can be measured, and its effects may be hard to recognize specifically when there is no point of comparison. Effects of hearing loss may be attributed to distraction, environmental noise, aloofness, confusion, or personality changes.

It is a major public health issue representing the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease. It affects a quarter of US population in the ages of 20 to 69, although few acknowledge the problem.

One in six adults aged 18 and over (16.8%) had any self-reported trouble hearing without a hearing aid, however, of adults who had any trouble hearing, less than one-half (46.0%) had seen a doctor or other health professional about their hearing or ear problems in the past 5 years, and only 21.5% had ever used a hearing aid. Also, although only 5.5% of this population are in the range of age 18-35, only the 38% of those have seen a health professional about their hearing in the past 5 years, and a low 4.7% have ever used a hearing aid. (Zelaya CE, 2015)

In this research, we want to identify situations where hearing is difficult for people, and to identify what strategies people follow in those situations. This with the goal of understanding how people feel in a situation of hearing impairment and how to use those situations for increasing awareness on hearing loss through the design, prototype and test a tool that will simulate hearing impairment situations for people to compare the experience with and without hearing loss.

Richard Henneman, Carrie Bruce
Nearly 100

Students in Georgia Tech's interdisciplinary MS in Human-Computer Interaction program do multiple group class projects, and a capstone individual project. Some projects are presented as part of other labs listed here; others are showcased in the MS-HCI Project Lab.

The two-year program spans four schools: Industrial Design; Interactive Computing; Literature, Media and Communications (Digital Media Program); and Psychology. Approximately 50 new students enroll each fall semester.