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Hearaz (GRK 2969)

Hearable-centered assistance: From sensor to participation

Outline of the Research Training Group

The vision of the HEARAZ Research Training Group is the comprehensive inter- and transdisciplinary training of junior scientists for the efficient development of a new generation of networked technical assistance systems close to the ear (“hearables”) and their embedding in life and care practice. This vision is realized conceptually and technologically through the networking of hearing aids with sensors and external devices. Hearables are thus being further developed into a mobile and personalized “health center on the ear”. Beyond hearing improvement, better perception, communication and mobility of the wearers are to be realized through technical and social networking with formal and informal care networks. The aim is to improve opportunities for participation despite health restrictions, increased vulnerability and the increasing diversity of the often older wearers. Based on a characterization of the individual limitations, the needs of those affected are to be examined and suitable assistance functions designed and evaluated in everyday care. A consistently interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach with access to the international research environment is necessary in order to achieve optimum benefit from these socio-technical systems. This approach and the excellent research environment enable systematic basic research, research into clinical and technical applications as well as care research and research into ethical and social aspects, and addresses the global market for hearing aids in particular and hearables in general.

The Research Training Group HEARAZ builds on the long-standing and excellent research work and infrastructures of the two participating and neighboring universities. These include the Cluster of Excellence Hearing4All (including Kollmeier), the SFB HAPPA (including Kollmeier), the Lifespan AI research group (including Schultz, Li), BMBF projects such as the Nursing Innovation Center (including Hein, Wolf-Ostermann) and the research networks Aequipa and EIDEC (including Hein, Schweda), the BMG project ETAP (including Hein, Schweda), the BMG project ETAP (including Hein, Schweda) and the research networks Aequipa and EIDEC (including Hein, Schweda). Hein, Schweda, among others), the BMG project ETAP (Schultz, Wolf-Ostermann, among others) and the AI4HealthCare Center (Schultz, among others) as well as the Leibniz Science Campus Digital Public Health (Hein, Schultz, Schweda, Wolf-Ostermann, among others). Based on this preliminary work, the participating applicants (Principal Investigators, PIs) cover the broad spectrum of sensors, methods (including signal processing and machine learning), technologies and systems as well as their ethical, legal and social significance. This is the prerequisite for using hearing aids and hearables beyond hearing improvement for the diagnosis and treatment of age-associated functional limitations and for assistive support in daily life. In addition to the recording and processing of biosignals during communication and their interpretation, the development processes must be designed from an ethical, legal and social perspective and with the involvement of future users.

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