Google to Work with Leading Hearing Australian Researchers for New AI and Machine-Learning Solutions

A partnership between five of Australia's leading hearing healthcare organizations aims to customize technology and improve accessibility for people with hearing loss

Google has announced it will be teaming up with five of Australia's leading research organizations to explore new ideas for applying artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to challenges in listening and communication for people with hearing loss. The partnership, part of Google's Digital Future Initiative, involves the National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), Cochlear, Macquarie University Hearing, NextSense, and The Shepherd Center. These organizations will be undertaking projects on how AI and machine learning can pave the way for more customized hearing healthcare.

Google Partnership Lrg Group

Researchers from NAL, Cochear, Macquarie University Hearing, NextSense, and the Shepherd Center will join Google in focusing on new hearing healthcare applications involving AI and machine learning.

The agreement is a multi-year collaboration. Research teams will evaluate new methods, such as machine learning, big data, speech enhancement, cloud computing and neuroscience to improve and develop hearing technologies and strategies, according to Cochlear Ltd. It brings together expertise and resources from hearing, research, technology, academia, government, healthcare and information sciences sectors.

Australia and a world-first hearing collaboration announced with Google

Australia has long been a center of hearing healthcare research. For example, the modern cochlear implant, bone-anchored hearing systems, and many clinical protocols for their use have been developed in Australia. NAL has set global standards to assess hearing impairment, developing hearing healthcare innovations and the most widely used prescription software by audiologists in the world today. NextSense has one of the world’s largest and most established cochlear implant programs and helped pioneer telepractice in this area.

According to Google, the partnership's first project seeks to personalize hearing models to better address individual listening needs to enhance hearing aids and other listening devices. This technology could be particularly beneficial for people using listening devices in complex listening environments, ranging from busy restaurants to live music performances. The overlapping sounds in these settings can make listening, enjoying, and hearing understanding difficult or impossible for people with hearing loss.

The project will explore new applications of AI to better identify, categorize and segregate sound sources, making it easier for people using assistive listening devices to follow a conversation or activity as the technology could help to prioritize sounds, such as a person speaking—and filter out others, such as background noise.

Leading the effort for Google will be Simon Carlile, a distinguished world leader in this field, as he returns to join Google Research Australia.

Google says it is committed to making the world more accessible for people with deafness or hearing loss. Over the years, the company has launched a range of accessibility tools on Android, including Live Transcribe, Lookout, Sound Amplifier, Live Caption, and new improved TalkBack.

Source: Google