In France, nine deaf children out of ten are fitted with hearing aids to help them communicate. But no matter how sophisticated the hearing aid, they can only hear voices, not music.
Sound engineer and Sound X founder, Damien Quintard, was deeply moved by their plight. He noticed that some concert goers stood very close to the speakers to feel the sound vibrations. He subsequently became more aware of the issue when working as a sound engineer at concerts for sick children at Necker Hospital.
“It’s very rewarding to share our passion for music and help hearing-impaired people, while getting to know a community that has sadly been rather neglected,” says Daniela Garcia, CEO of Sound X.
The device is made up of three components, including an AI function, a digital interface, and a vibrating backpack. The backpack was developed by Selha Group so that it could be produced on an industrial scale.
The deaf or hearing-impaired person activates the dedicated application. The sound passes through the device, and the signal, which is processed by AI, is converted into vibrations in the backpack. Bone conduction optimizes the vibrations felt in the back.
The product is still being trialed by the Institut National des Jeunes Sourds (school for the deaf) in Paris. Every week it is tested on pupils of all ages, during music lessons and speaking lessons.
For Selha Group, the IOT Award is “an endorsement of the work done by (its) engineering and design department. It’s a fantastic achievement,” says business development manager Olivier Allaire. “The product proposed by Sound X is a “feel good product” that supports the inclusion of persons with disabilities and enables them to feel things that we take for granted, but which are very precious.”
Sound X was “very pleasantly surprised,” admits Daniela Garcia. “It’s great to get that encouragement while we’re still in the development phase.”
Sound X hopes to start rolling out its product worldwide in 2022.