Who hasn’t encountered a patient in the past month or two complaining about trying to find a quiet restaurant in their neighborhood? Even with properly fitted hearing aids, noisy restaurants and other similar spaces with poor acoustics are a tremendous challenge for many. You don’t have to be an older adult with hearing loss to crave a quiet dining experience with family and friends from time to time.
Using GPS and crowdsourcing, the iHEARu smartphone app provides a practical solution to this notorious problem. Founded by audiologist, Kelly Trembley, PhD, of the University of Washington, the iHEARu app uses GPS to locate commercial establishments, and provides user-generated loudness to help you decide the best places to dine or meet with family, friends or business colleagues.
Akin to the ubiquitous Yelp app, iHEARu allows users to rate and share loudness ratings of restaurants and other public spaces. In addition, the app uses the smartphone’s microphone to provide a real time measurement of a location’s decibel level and displays the information in a user-friendly format.
During the week of January 22-31, Tremblay, along with Charles Limb, MD of UC-San Francisco as well as assorted “citizen scientists” are taking to the streets of the Golden City to crowdsource sound data that will help others in their city identify ear-friendly spaces.
The iHEARu app is free and can be used by anyone with a smartphone. It is one of several apps, including Tunity, Fennex, and Sonic Cloud that augment standard audio or communication devices for individuals who have difficulty hearing.