Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Google Patents Social Networks Apple

Apple Plans Hearing Aid Social Networking 70

theodp writes "Apple may have killed off Ping, its attempt at a music social network, but the USPTO on Thursday disclosed that Apple has patent-pending plans for a hearing aid-based social network. So, if Apple's granted patents covering its Social Network for Sharing a Hearing Aid Setting and method of Remotely Updating a Hearing Aid Profile, will it use them to 'go thermonuclear' on Google when the search giant gets around to improving its current offerings for the hard of hearing?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Apple Plans Hearing Aid Social Networking

Comments Filter:
  • by feedayeen ( 1322473 ) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @05:42PM (#40731859)

    Why would people share hearing aid settings with others? Isn't this the type of device set by the operator's preferences?

    Having a short range communication between hearing aids and external devices has advantages in calibration, but I just don't get the social part.

  • by StueyNZ ( 2657297 ) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @05:47PM (#40731881)
    Dear Apple, I paid a bucket of money for my hearing aids - in excess of NZ$7000 - please leave the damn things alone. If I need to tune them with wizzy settings, I will let the professionals who know what they're doing do it. PS. If I want to join a social network for sharing hearing aid settings - I'll join the 'Patents Killed by Prior Art network' on facebook.
  • by SilenceBE ( 1439827 ) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @05:51PM (#40731903)
    The only "social" part is - by reading the article - that people are able to share settings.

    The problem is that this summary is written by an idiot it seems - is this the infamous timothy which I seems some comments of now an then ? - and has nothing really to do with Google or even a social network in the typical sense when we speak about "social networks".

    The person written this summary has really mental problems as it seems he wants to abuse people with hearing disabilities to spread FUD about a scenario which really don't make any sense if I read the article. I don't even know what is has to do with subtitles on youtube.
  • by MemoryAid ( 675811 ) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @06:10PM (#40731999)
    I can see where it may be helpful to crowd-source settings at certain locations. Maybe the noise profile at a pub responds best to a certain setup for most people, but you don't want to twiddle with your hearing aid until you figure it out. A statistical analysis of others' settings, along with some rating of satisfaction with them, could help adjust a hearing aid more quickly.

    I'm sure Apple could come up with an easy interface on the iPhone to quickly adjust, rate and share settings. Maybe even store some info about each person's hearing loss profile to better match people with settings...

    Of course, I haven't read the article yet, so this could be redundant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 22, 2012 @06:13PM (#40732013)

    I use my hearing aids in loop systems on a weekly basis at different churches. All of them have different levels on the loop system requiring me to turn the levels up and down on my hearing aids, since most of them aren't set to the (British) government standards (and of course, the output from different mixing desks are different). It would be great if there was a network to give me a baseline for the setup of the system that would work reliably, since hearing aid loops ARE set to the baseline.

  • by neBelcnU ( 663059 ) on Sunday July 22, 2012 @06:19PM (#40732039) Journal

    I've also paid a fortune for my hearing aids, 100% of my own funds because health insurance in the US doesn't cover any hearing-related expenses beyond the most basic testing.

    With that in mind, I do NOT want the "professionals" touching my hearing aids. Having watched them repeatedly, I'm certain that I can do a better job--even with Siemens' cripple-ware. In fact, there are a number of hacks I think would be really impressive: The software packages the 4 settings by default in a manner that requires 3x the button-pushes should they be arrayed in simple "loudness order". Or this one: the feedback defaults to a series of beeps: 1 per setting position, 1 beep=1st setting, 2=2nd, etc. There's an option to set the tone to one of 4 different frequencies, so in my first visit, I figured out we should select ever higher tones for the counts. (1=lowest/least, 4=highest/most) The "professional" was so astonished by the usability improvement of this, he was going to apply it to other customers.

    Oh, and see what I did there? I just socially-shared a trick that others may find helpful." I know it's a licensed job, they're not idiots, and they do have skills, but they do not wear hearing aids. I cannot stress that last enough, every "professional" I've seen all have perfect hearing. They may understand the physiology better, but they do not understand the electronics, psychoacoustics, or the limitations better than I do.

    Run the tests, start up the app, and head out for lunch, I'll take it from here. And you bet your sweet bippy I'm going to publish MY settings, and compare notes with other users. If you don't want to, fine, don't. But I'll pay to get out of the highest walled-garden in the world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 22, 2012 @06:41PM (#40732131)

    Oh, stop with your relevant and insightful commentary, will you?

    These comments are for paranoid, delusional rambling about how Apple is evil and Google can never, ever, ever do wrong.

    Anything that does not confirm that bias, or which seeks to point out the fact that this has nothing to do with "Apple going nuclear on Google," or that there is actually a USEFUL application for this functionality, is immediately going to be modded flamebait.

  • by LodCrappo ( 705968 ) on Monday July 23, 2012 @02:28AM (#40734085) Homepage

    Um.. you do realize this is Apple we are talking about right??

    Tiny number of OEMs, check. One in fact.
    Controls patents and technology like an ironfisted asshole, check.
    Bought up smaller companies and patents, check.
    Sold only through branded stores, check.
    Retail markups ridiculously high, check.

    Sounds like Apple will fit right in, but I don't see how they will improve things for hearing aid customers one bit.


MESSAGE ACKNOWLEDGED -- The Pershing II missiles have been launched.