Hear better with BeHear EasyListen™ technology that slows down speech in real time
“Leave your name and number at the tone. S l o w l y.”
Susan’s father is in his 80s. His mind is sharp. He has no problem using his mobile for phone and even video calls. Unlike the younger generation, he still uses voicemail, wants to listen to messages and call people back. That’s why he recorded a special message for people trying to reach him, requesting they leave their number, speaking slowly.
Having to strain to catch what someone else is saying is both annoying and stressful. This phenomenon is not necessarily a function of a hearing problem (although it may be). Some people are simply “fast talkers,” people who speak more quickly than most, making it hard to catch everything they say. There are several additional situations where rapid speech could be a problem that makes us wish it were possible to slow down the words of the person on the other side of the phone:
- Age – As we age our reflexes become slower. In the same vein, the gap between hearing and comprehension increases i.e., it takes more time for the brain to process the sound and translate it into meaning.
- Geography – In the U.S.A, for example, the southern drawl is very different from the clipped speech of a New Yorker. The trend to use offshore employees for customer support introduces unfamiliar accents. When someone sounds different than what we are used to hearing, their speech is harder for our brain to process.
- Language – different languages are spoken at different paces, and it can be challenging to keep up with a conversation that is not in your native tongue.
EasyListenTM technology is integrated into BeHear hearing amplification headsets, enabling users to slow down speech during mobile calls and while listening to voice messages.
For people experiencing even mild hearing loss, EasyListenTM technology to slow down speech can be particularly helpful. Hearing degradation affects our ability to hear certain sounds that make up words, such as the letters and letter combinations f, s, sh, th, etc. In this case the brain needs extra time to determine what was said, based on overall context. In such cases, people often find themselves unduly tired without realizing that this is caused by the added strain and stress of trying to decipher words that have become unclear.
“Time stretching” technologies for speech modification are not new. EasyListenTM differs from these, creating a more complex and intelligent standard for the dynamic real-time control of speech. Sophisticated speech analysis is performed, and only those parts that are important for understanding, but just too fast, are slowed down to the extent that is necessary. This is how the speech is slowed down, without altering the natural feel of the conversation:
- Natural pauses occur in each typical conversation (such as when the speaker takes a breath). Shortening such pauses is used to reduce the delay that is generated by slowing down the audio signal. However, if the speaker talks fast continuously, with no pauses, EasyListenTM will gradually stop slowing down his/her monologue when the maximal allowed delay is exceeded.
EasyListenTM technology is language-independent and works equally well with Western and Eastern tonal languages. It can be activated during mobile (cell) phone calls only, not during live conversations or television/movie viewing.
BeHear hearing amplification headsets are designed to help make life sound better, particularly for people with mild to moderately-severe hearing loss. There are numerous benefits to reducing the strain of trying to hear or trying to keep up with someone who is simply speaking too fast, including: stress reduction, increased well-being, and more pleasant interpersonal connections.
Voice and Hearing Enhancement Technologies Demonstrated by Alango at CES 2017
Alango Technologies Ltd. (“Alango”), a leading provider of voice and audio enhancement technologies, is presenting selected digital voice and audio enhancement technologies as well as hearing enhancement concept products at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada, an international consumer electronics event.
Alango is demonstrating the following technology solutions this week at CES 2017:
- EasyListen™ – slows down incoming speech in real time thus improving intelligibility of fast talkers, foreign languages, and recorded messages.
- ListenThrough™ – a “smart algorithm” for headphones that allows enjoyment of the music while staying alert to important environmental sounds (e.g., alarm, horn, etc.)
- Voice Enhancement Package (VEP) – a set of software technologies including a multi-microphone beamforming array and echo canceller to enhance far-field speech pick-up and response to “barge-in” commands.
- HearPhones™ – a software reference design transforming a Bluetooth headset or “hearable” into a personal, self-tunable sound amplifier with assistive listening and other capabilities.
- Dual Microphone Smartwatch Speech Enhancement –specially designed to discriminate between speech and noise, even when the user speaks from varying distance/direction from his/her smartwatch.
- MuRefiner™ – a set of audio enhancement technologies that transforms a portable loudspeaker into a good quality soundbar speaker.
- Adaptive Directional Microphone Array – a backbone of voice enhancement for smartphones, tablets, Bluetooth® headsets, hands-free in-car communication and personal sound amplifiers.
Additionally, two concept products in Beta testing under the “Wear and Hear” brand (www.WearAndHear.com) from sister company Alango, Ltd. are featured in the stand: BeHear® and SALT™.
- BeHear is a neckband style Bluetooth headset with external microphones on each earbud enabling binaural hearing enhancement and ListenThrough awareness functionality.
- SALT (Smart Assistive Listening Transceiver) combines all HearPhones functionality with additional features utilizing four low-noise digital microphones, small loudspeaker, motion sensor, vibration motor and telecoil.
Dr. Alexander Golden, Alango founder and CEO, said: “We are pleased to return to CES this year with substantial advancements and additions to our technology portfolio. We remain firm believers that the hearables market is poised for growth, and toward this end have invested significant R&D in our HearPhones™ hearing enhancement technology, as demonstrated in our concept products BeHear and SALT. Our Voice Enhancement Package (“VEP”), which is used in conjunction with voice recognition software to pick-up far-field speech commands for smart home and smartphone use, is being demonstrated in our stand. Our aim is to license our software to organizations that share a common interest of bringing useful and sophisticated voice and audio solutions to the world.”
Visit the Alango stand from Jan. 5-8 at the CES 2017, Sands Expo, Booth 51036.
About Alango Technologies, Ltd.
Alango Technologies Ltd. is a leading developer and licensor of front-end DSP technologies for voice communication and mobile audio. Alango’s worldwide customers include companies of different scale covering a wide product range. Alango technologies can be found in in-car infotainment systems, after market hands-free car kits, navigation systems, mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets, audio conferencing systems, intercoms, assistive listening devices, security and military applications. Further information about Alango can be found at www.alango.com.
Hearable and Assistive Listening Products Announced
Alango introduces new concept products to aid the hearing impaired
Alango Ltd., sister company of Alango Technologies Ltd. (“Alango”), announced the introduction of new products in the hearable and assistive listening category. These products are based on the DSP software technologies of Alango Technologies Ltd., a global leader in voice, audio, and hearing enhancement.
The Alango Ltd. hearables and assistive listening Web site (www.WearAndHear.com) includes details about two concept products that are currently in Beta testing: BeHear® and SALT™. Product release is expected in the second quarter of 2017.
BeHear is a neck loop style Bluetooth® headset with external microphones on each earbud enabling binaural hearing enhancement. The hearing enhancement is made available via HearPhones™, DSP pre-processing software for hearing enhancement and assistive listening, which is the next generation of the software reference design that Alango has been licensing to its customers for their Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). HearPhones includes digital signal processing (DSP) libraries for all device modes: hearing enhancement, phone call, and assistive listening.
Additionally, BeHear will be equipped with Alango’s ListenThrough™ technology. ListenThrough is a smart algorithm for headphones that allows important environmental sounds (alarm, car horn, train, etc.) to be passed through so that the user can listen to streamed music while remaining aware of the environment. Furthermore, BeHear will support EasyListen™, a listening mode that dynamically slows down incoming speech to make it more understandable. EasyListen helps increase intelligibility of “fast talkers”, foreign languages, and recorded messages.
SALT (Smart Assistive Listening Transceiver) can be described as the Swiss Army Knife for the hearing impaired. SALT includes all the functionality of BeHear while extending it by adding additional components. Either headphones or an induction loop can interface with SALT, which additionally includes an onboard T-Coil receiver and stereo-beamforming 4-microphone array to act as an interview or remote microphone. It is a truly multi-functional device that assists hearing in multiple real world situations and additionally works as a speakerphone, wireless intercom, emergency call device, and more.
Alexander Goldin, Alango’s founder and CEO said, “Alango is developing technology for improving the quality of life for people that have a hearing impairment. As a technology development company, we have a strong interest in seeing the hearables market come into fruition. This market will offer choices and benefits for many people. Our work began on HearPhones over two years ago, and we will continue making it better. HearPhones is what powers BeHear and SALT – our contribution to the realization of this promising market. HearPhones is available to support those who are developing hearing enhancement products and who share the dream of growing the hearables market.”
About Alango Technologies
Alango Technologies Ltd. is a leading developer and licensor of front-end DSP technologies for voice communication and mobile audio. Alango’s worldwide customers include companies of different scales, covering a wide product range. Alango technologies can be found in in-car infotainment systems, after-market hands-free car kits, navigation systems, mobile phones, Bluetooth headsets, audio conferencing systems, intercoms, assistive listening devices, security and military applications. Further information about Alango can be found at www.alango.com.