Frequently Asked Questions
- What about Android?
- What about Bluetooth?
- I’m hearing clicks and pops when BioAid is running. How do I prevent this?
- Can I make a print out of the documentation supplied in the app?
- How should I carry my iOS device
- Can I use BioAid to process network voice calls?
- What are the best type of headphones to use with BioAid?
- My headset has noise reduction technology, surely this would be great with BioAid?
- What provisions are there in the BioAid app for the visually impaired?
What about Android?
The first platform targeted was iOS because it is capable of very low audio input to output latency. Latency refers to the time delay between the incoming sounds, and the processed sounds that are output through the headphones. If the delay is too high, it will be noticeable, making BioAid detract from, rather than enhance the listening experience. Typical input to output latency on Android devices was between 100 and 250 milliseconds when we started the project. This was unacceptable for a good user experience. This latency occurs at the level of the OS, so when the android developers fix this issue, Nick Clark will consider making a software port to the platform.
What about Bluetooth?
The omission of Bluetooth support is due to latency considerations. Latency refers to the time delay between the incoming sounds, and the processed sounds that are output through the headphones. The additional bluetooth electronics in the signal chain increase the delay between direct and processed sounds. This is not a problem for people using bluetooth headsets to make phone calls, as they are not generally in the vicinity of the person they’re talking to. However, the added latency makes bluetooth technology inappropriate for responsive real-time use.
I’m hearing clicks and pops when BioAid is running. How do I prevent this?
If the processor in the device is under extreme strain, it may not be able to fill the audio output buffer with fresh data quickly enough. The discontinuity in the audio data can be heard as an unpleasant artifact, which sounds like a click or pop. Some of the less powerful devices that are iOS 6 compatible (such as the iPod touch 4th generation) may be more susceptible to this.
To remedy this, one can reduce processor strain by closing unused background processes. This is achieved by double tapping the home button, holding down one of the icons that appears at the bottom of the screen, then tapping the red button that appears on each process icon that you wish to close.
Can I make a print out of the documentation supplied in the app?
You sure can. Check out this page for a copy of the documentation supplied in the help screens of the app.
How should I carry my iOS device
BioAid works best sonically when using the microphone inside of the iOS device. However, it is also possible to use BioAid with headphones that incorporate a built in microphone, which is the best solution for people wanting to experiment with BioAid on the move. Using a headset with built in microphone prevents any rustling noises that would occur as a result of the iOS device rubbing against clothing.
It is not recommended to keep the iOS device in a shirt pocket when using the microphone built into the iOS device. This can cause annoying rubbing noises whenever the user moves. Use of a lanyard might be best for this use case.
When using BioAid around the house or office (using the microphone built into the iOS device), then just place the iOS device on the arm of a chair or on a coffee table. If you are using BioAid to communicate with another person, then place the iOS device as close to that person as possible. This will improve the level of their voice relative to any background noise.
Identify the microphone location of your iOS device and point this in the general direction of your target. For example, if using a 4th generation iPod touch, place this face down on a surface, as the microphone is positioned on the rear of this particular device. The microphone location varies between different iOS devices. If using a headset with an integrated microphone, the position of the microphone on the iOS device is irrelevant.
Can I use BioAid to process network voice calls?
Unfortunately no. This is an obvious and potentially powerful use of BioAid technology, but developers currently have no access to the voice call data stream on iPhones.
What are the best type of headphones to use with BioAid?
BioAid works best with headphones that provide an occluded fitting, i.e. that block the ear canal. This is because a major part of BioAid’s functionality involves reducing the level of sounds that would otherwise be uncomfortably loud. If the earpiece does not block the ear canal, then the direct sound is free to pass, thus BioAid cannot offer any level of protection.
|Headphones the form an acoustic seal in the ear canal allow BioAid to protect the user from loud sounds.|
|Headphones that do not form an acoustic seal cannot protect the wearer from loud sounds, but will still allow amplification of quiet sounds.|
BioAid works best when using the microphone inside of the iOS device. It is possible to use BioAid with headphones that incorporate a built in microphone, but this is not the best solution as the microphone is designed to pick up the voice of the user, and not the surroundings. Even so, an extension cable can be used to force BioAid to use the microphone in the device rather than use the microphone in the headset.
My headset has noise reduction technology, surely this would be great with BioAid?
Some Bluetooth headsets contain “noise reduction” algorithms, but this type of noise reduction algorithm is catastrophic to the function of a hearing aid. The noise reduction (in a headset primarily designed for telephony) is designed to block out environmental sound, leaving the speakers voice clear for the person at the other end of a telephone call. Generally from a hearing aid, you want to hear environmental sound and not the sound of your own voice, so this type of noise reduction would counteract any good done by the app.
What provisions are there in the BioAid app for the visually impaired?
We did not anticipate how many people with both visual and hearing impairments would be keen to try the app. However, we are looking into this issue and have been receiving advice from people who work in this field. Please check back for updates.