Student wins coveted award for pioneering gaming headset for hearing aid wearers
Sam Gaze, a Bournemouth University student, has designed a cutting-edge gaming headset for people with hearing aids that solves the issue of feedback.
The Immersion Gamers Headset was designed as part of Sam’s final-year Product Design course. His design allows the user to independently change volume in either ear and improve the perception and experience of surround sound. The technology used was inspired by the groynes at Bournemouth beach, which work on the same principle as sound waves.
Lifts specialist Stannah awarded Sam the Joseph Stannah Award – an award for the most innovative and inclusive design that promotes independent living – at this year’s New Designers. New Designers is an exhibition of over 3,000 design students showcasing innovative designs over a two-week period at the Business Design Centre in Islington.
The award was presented by Ross Pascoe, Chief Technical Officer at Stannah, during a ceremony at London’s Business Design Centre on 6 July 2022. In addition, Sam will receive £1,000 to support the further development of his career.
Ross said: “This is now our 5th year at New Designers and each year we are amazed by the innovative designs. We were all really impressed by Sam’s design which uses a clever bit of tech to solve an issue that has been burdening the hearing-impaired community for some time.”
Sam discovered that there was a need for better clarity for hearing aid users when using headphones. According to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), there are 12 million people that have some form of hearing loss and estimates there will be around 14.2 million adults with hearing loss greater than 25 dBHL across the UK by 2035.
Sam commented: “When I was conducting my research, I found that the size of headphone earcups aren’t designed to fit a hearing aid. The feedback I was getting was that many had spent a considerable amount of money on their hearing aids and so wanted them to work with headphones. It seemed to be shouting at me as a genuine problem.”
Stannah is dedicated to education in engineering. Through its Joseph Stannah Foundation, the lifts specialist supports STEM projects in in local schools and colleges that promote engineering and related sciences as a career.
Bournemouth University is currently working with Policy Connect and the Ace Centre on the development of the Assistive and Accessible Technology (ATech) Policy Lab – a venture that aims to design public policy to ensure that technology works for everyone in response to the rapid digitalisation of services seen as a result of the pandemic. The lab will bring together disabled people, sector leaders and researchers to get into the detail of policy design, incubate new ideas, stress test the best proposals, and generate the evidence and insight that moves policymakers to action.
Stannah’s inclusive design expert, Vaila Morrison RIBA, recently shared an article on AT Today detailing her top technology picks to introduce throughout the home to adopt a more inclusive home lifestyle and care for increased independence and wellbeing.