Photo: Joachim Rode

Collaboration strengthens hearing research

Hearing aids Medical equipment and systems
In March, Professor Torsten Dau received Brinch’s honorary award for his hearing research at the highest international level. His is currently engaged in giving DTU’s research environment a further boost.

When the Centre for Applied Hearing Research was established at DTU in 2003, it employed a staff of three. The centre, which now plays a central role in the global hearing aid industry and scientific circles, currently employs 30 staff in the professional Hearing Systems group under the auspices of DTU Electrical Engineering. The latest addition to the centre is the new Oticon Centre of Excellence for Hearing and Speech Sciences (CHeSS) which conducts in-depth interdisciplinary basic research projects. At the same time, the centre is initiating several applied research projects supported by the Danish hearing aid sector.

Even though modern sophisticated hearing aids can recognize speech in noisy environments and be individually customized, the problem of filtering out unwanted information and noise in large gatherings remains unsolved:

“You only find the key if you truly collaborate and try something new. In Denmark, we enjoy unique partnerships with hearing aid manufacturers and share common ideas and visions despite mutual competition, which makes it more interesting to work here,” says Torsten Dau, who originates from Germany.

"The unique acoustic and hearing research environment at DTU with its different approaches assures Denmark a central role in a global research environment"
Karsten Bo Rasmussen, innovation and project manager at Oticon

World-class laboratories
Torsten Dau is in the process of establishing what will become one of the world’s most sophisticated laboratories for audiovisual research at the same time as the audiological research facilities are being expanded.

Hearing Systems shares facilities with the Acoustic Technology group and the Interacoustics Research Unit, which conducts research into diagnosing hearing loss.

In January, a brand new research centre for acoustic microsystems (CAMM) financed by DTU and the hearing aid manufacturers Oticon, Widex and GN ReSound opened its doors as part of Acoustic Technology.

Innovation project manager Karsten Bo Rasmussen from Oticon has this to say about the new research centres at DTU:

“Hearing Systems concerns itself with signal processing and with what goes on in the inner ear and brain, while CAMM focuses on the interplay between mechanics and acoustics. The unique acoustic and hearing research environment at DTU with its different approaches assures Denmark a central role in a global research environment. It’s fantastic for us to gain access to a professional foundation of this calibre, which will benefit all three hearing aid manufacturers.”