For decades, engineers in telephony have been creating ever more elaborate CODECs attempting to minimize transmission bandwidth, while increasing the fidelity of audio reproduction at the receiving end. The MOS (Mean Opinion Score) has traditionally been used to grade these improvements. It measures on a scale from 0 to 5 the subjective appeal of sound reproduction, with 5 meaning that there is no audible difference between the original sound and its reproduction. However, much of this effort is a bit wrong-headed, since they have been applying music reproduction criteria, where maximum fidelity is demanded by listeners, to a situation for voice communications where clarity of speech is more important than how faithful it sounds. And when people are speaking on a phone, their listening environment is generally less than ideal due to environmental noise. So the listener normally has to boost the volume. High fidelity rendering is pointless in noisy environments, but can be satisfying in quiet conditions. There hasn’t been any real alternative to boosting the volume in noisy situations because the physics of hearing hasn’t been well understood.
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Noise levels recorded at nearly a dozen restaurants, gyms and bars in New York City reached heights that, if sustained over as little as two hours, would violate standards set by the
to protect workers’ hearing. But even if the regulations were heeded, many audiologists say, they would not protect hearing enough: federal noise protection standards lag behind much of the industrialized world’s.
To read the full article go to the NY Times
Hearing Loss is an ‘Invisible’ and widely uninsured problem:
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Californian company Noise Free Wireless leveled a patent infringement suit against Apple, alleging that the tech giant stole their noise-canceling technology. The suit claims that Noise Free met with Apple in 2007 to discuss using Noise Free digital voice enhancement technology in Apple’s iPhone and iPad. Noise Free claims they showed Apple PowerPoint presentations and provided them with circuit boards and a sample phone.
Noise Free alleges that Apple then cut off communications with Noise Free briefly in 2009 before filing for their own “use-specific noise suppression for voice quality improvements” patent. In 2010, Apple then cut off business relations with Noise Free and decided to work instead with a competitor, Mountain View, Calif.-based Audience.
Noise Free filed their complaint with the US District Court for the Northern District of California, claiming that Apple violated their noise-canceling technology patent, breached a contract, and stole trade secrets.
None of the involved companies seem to want to talk about it, though.
Apple has reportedly been unresponsive to queries, though it would be unusual for them if they acted otherwise.
Noise Free hasn’t responded to TechRadar’s email and phone queries, and Audience replied to say that they’re not commenting “at this time.”
Hopefully, all three companies are preparing statements, as there’s plenty about this situation that needs clarification.
On a daily basis, farmers are exposed to squealing livestock, tractors, ventilation systems, chainsaws and other heavy machinery. All of these things contribute to the increasing problem of noise-induced hearing loss in the agricultural industry. A good deal of research into hearing damage in the agricultural sector has been carried out throughout the last decade. In a recent US study, it was discovered that approximately 30 million Americans are exposed to hazardous noise on the job. 36% (10.8 million) of those individuals are in the agricultural business. Furthermore, 78% of those farmers had suffered or were suffering from hearing problems.
While noise induced hearing loss is permanent, it is easily preventable. However, only 44% of males in the study said they used ear protection on a daily basis. US law has put preventative measures into place by controlling maximum job noise exposure. If the noise is higher than a certain level or someone is exposed to a lower level of noise for an extended period of time, then protective gear must be used. Unfortunately, enforcing the regulation is difficult. Furthermore, protective gear is a cost of business as it is not issued by the government through subsidies. Thus, it is a cost that struggling farmers cut by opting not to purchase hearing protection in the first place. Further education on the subject would very likely alleviate some of the problem..
But, what about people who already have damaged hearing? Many of the people in ‘noisy occupations’ are in a lower income bracket and therefore can’t normally afford the cost of $3,000 - $7,000 dollar hearing aids. This potentially creates a downward spiral as productivity is reduced leading a further reduction in income, or an individuals person comfort level becomes so intolerable that they quit. One option that could be explored in order to help former farmers suffering from hearing damage, are the tools that Acudora have developed. Our technology measures your Acoustic DNA and, matched to your individual profile, allows you to fine tune your audio output to optimize clarity and resolution. This would not only allow affected farmers to do day-to-day activities, such as watching TV or talking on the phone with ease, but would also allow them to pursue other careers without the disadvantage of hearing loss.
More Mobile Phone Subscriptions Than People having Electricity Or Drinking Water