Nancy Tye-Murray, a professor of otolaryngology and of audiology and communication sciences the at the Washington University School of Medicine, has developed a software that helps patients improve speech recognition, called clEAR (customized learning: Exercises for Aural Rehabilitation).

The softwares helps patients train to listen for the voices of loved ones. As is the case with hearing aids, finding one voice in a cacophony can be especially difficult for someone with a hearing impairment. clEAR software gives the user a way to practice finding a sound amongst many, and gives the ability for that sound to be programmed with a loved one’s voice.

Working with the school’s Office of Technology Management, Nancy Tye-Murray and Brent Spehar launched a St. Louis-based startup company in 2016 to provide the software to patients and hearing health-care professionals.

“Hearing loss destroys self-identity,” said Tye-Murray. “The inability to hear and participate in everyday conversations is isolating and can destroy relationships with family, friends and co-workers. In my lab, we have been developing computer software to help adults and children with hearing loss practice listening, helping train the ear to better understand the people who are most important in their lives.”

Per the CDC, more than 35 million adults in the US have difficulty hearing.

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