Innovation

Hearoes and Hopkins Centre unite to win

Hearoes and Hopkins centre

Imagine the happiness, excitement and freedom of being able to hear sounds around you for the first time?  

Bionic ears are incredible technology, and it can be an amazing milestone receiving one, however, in many cases, it’s the first part of the journey and because it’s a whole new way of hearing, there is then the notion of training your brain to identify and interpret what these new sounds are. It’s like trying to drive a sports car, when you don’t have a licence or have never driven a car before.

About Elliot Miller – Founder of Hearoes and Hopkins Centre Ambassador  

Elliot Miller, founder of Hearoes, was born with sensorineural hearing loss – with mild to severe hearing loss in his right ear, and profound hearing loss in the left side.  As a child, he was fitted with hearing aids, and as technology progressed, was the recipient of a cochlear implant / bionic ear in 2013, aged 25. 

Of this time, Elliot said “It had been a very life changing experience, especially being able to hear the higher pitches in sounds that I’ve never heard before. I’ll always remember the time I was jogging down the street shortly after receiving my bionic ear, and I noticed a sound that I couldn’t identify. I stopped to try and identify this new sound, but the sound stopped as well, and it wasn’t until I got home later that day, I realised it was the coins in my pocket.” 

“I think one of the biggest realisations, is that almost everything around us makes a sound, from the wind howling, to the car indicators, to even leaving the fridge door open for long periods of time. And they’re not really things that you think about, especially if there aren’t any visual references or feedback associated with it.” 

“It became a big learning curve for me, because although I could hear new sounds, it was very challenging being able to identify them. At the time I was at Griffith University researching Serious Games, which is studying how we can learn through play and digital interactivity. “Play” and gamification are a fascinating way to learn as they tap into and teach the user in many ways parallel to the way we learn new things, such as goal orientated, readiness and reputation in an engaging and dynamic way.”

“I ended up using these learnings to create some gamified auditory training exercises to help myself with sounds, which I personally found challenging. From there, I ended up showing it to my clinician, and releasing it on the app store to help others with their new hearing journey.” 

“We’ve had some amazing feedback and stories, not only from the recipients, but also others involved in the training process, including clinicians, teachers and even parents. It’s very motivating being able to help others who are experiencing similar daily challenges, especially as I’ve faced similar daily challenges myself.” 

About the Bionic Queensland Challenge 

Hearoes is thrilled to have been awarded and recognised “Early Innovation Award” from the Bionic Queensland Challenge. This incredible award includes the prize of $5K and further mentoring with Bionic Queensland, to help take Hearoes to the next stage of development. 

It was made possible by the invaluable support from team members; Professor Elizabeth Kendell, Dr Camila Shirota and Joe-Anne Kek-Pamenter from The Hopkins Centre, Griffith University, along with Jackson Fuller and James Harlow, and those at Bionic Queensland; Dr Robyn Stokes, Dr Dimity Dornan and Mark Jones. We’re looking forward to continuing to make the most of this amazing opportunity in working with others, to help those with bionic ears to understand new sounds, build confidence and thrive in the hearing world around them.

Problem Statement 

In Australia, an estimated 3.95 million people, or 15.3% of the population, have hearing loss (Hearing Care Industry Association 2020), a 9.7% increase from 2017 (Deloitte Access Economics 2017). The social and economic costs amount to $41.2 billion, 51% of which linked to the loss of wellbeing. Of the economic cost, productivity loss due to reduced employment was the single largest factor, at $12.9 billion. There is, thus, an urgent need to provide solutions to improve the health and life of people with hearing impairments.  

About Hearoes App 

Hearoes is a user centric auditory training app which is engaging, portable, and dynamic. It contains over 45+ gamified activities focusing on key and proven modules in auditory training such as environmental sounds, vowels, consonants, sentences and narratives in different accents including Australian and American male and female voices. 

Developed for iOS and Android phones and tablets, it allows training to be done anywhere, at any time, and focuses on challenges tailored especially for the individual user and their unique circumstances. Furthermore, it allows the clinician to see a patient’s progress to help maximise outcomes together.  

Future Goals 

At Hearoes, we believe that everyone should feel included in the hearing world around them. Hearoes helps those with hearing loss to distinguish new sounds and build confidence. We achieve this by delivering an accessible, engaging and rewarding training experience, as well as working closely with clinicians to help maximise outcomes of their patient’s wellbeing. 

Mission Statement 

  • To help those with a bionic ear globally to further accelerate the ability to better utilise and maximise outcomes with their new way of hearing, empowering them with new sounds and confidence in the hearing world around them. 
  • To continue in assisting clinicians with accessible and effective tools to help them with their role. By introducing clinically-relevant measures, we can help maximise outcomes with together. 

You can find out more about Hearoes App including downloading it for iOS and Android at: 

www.hearoes.com.au 

For more information: 
Elliot Miller 

elliot@hearoes.com.au 

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