Hearing aids play a central role in the rehabilitation of people who suffer from hearing impairment or loss. While the cost of the electronic components has decreased, the cost of hearing aids has steadily increased. In developing countries with low or middle income, they have often become unaffordable for people with age-related hearing loss (ARHL).
Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) have now developed a simple hearing aid that only costs one US dollar and can be built by the user. The components of the LoCHAid, which is specially designed for the treatment of ARHL, cost around 98 cents when purchased in bulk lots of 10,000 units. They can be customised for each user using 3D-printed housing. Electro-acoustic measurements have shown that the device meets most of the requirements set by the WHO preferred profile and Consumer Technology Association for hearing aids.