Patients with hearing loss benefit from training with loved one’s voice

Hearing loss often is called the invisible disability, according to Washington University researcher Nancy Tye-Murray. It can masquerade as other problems, from dementia to depression, and it can make those problems worse. With an aging population, the detrimental effects of hearing loss will only grow.

To help people with hearing loss navigate their daily lives, Tye-Murray and her colleagues at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have developed software tools to improve speech recognition and to provide ongoing contact with an audiologist. The program is called “customized learning: Exercises for Aural Rehabilitation,” or clEAR. Working with Washington University’s Office of Technology Management, Tye-Murray and the program’s co-founder, Brent Spehar, a research scientist at the School of Medicine, launched a St. Louis-based startup company in 2016 to provide the software to patients and hearing health-care professionals.

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