NextSense has joined industry leaders across healthcare, research and technology sectors in partnering with Google Australia to explore new applications of AI and machine learning hearing solutions.
The collaboration is part of Google’s Digital Future Initiative and will see Google join forces with Cochlear, Macquarie University Hearing, National Acoustic Laboratories (NAL), and The Shepherd Centre to explore new possibilities in the space.
Research will focus on enhancing hearing technologies to overcome its current challenges and pave the way for more personalised hearing healthcare—with the goal to provide a brighter future for more than 1.5 billion people globally who have hearing loss.
Australia has led the way in finding solutions to help meet these needs, with the cochlear implant now the gold standard for hearing clinical protocols, diagnostics and treatments. For over 75 years, NAL has set global standards to assess hearing impairment, developing hearing healthcare innovations for clinicians and those with hearing difficulty, and developed the most widely used prescription software used by audiologists in the world today. And through NextSense, Australia has one of the world’s largest and most established cochlear implant programs, and has pioneered the use of telepractice.
As part of the project, Simon Carlile, a distinguished world leader in the field, will join Grace Chung and Peter Bartlett—who lead Google’s first Australian research hub, Google Research Australia—to steer the effort on the ground and continue Australia’s proud record of hearing innovation.
The first project will seek to personalise hearing models to better address individual listening needs to enhance hearing aids and other listening devices.
“This collaboration has an exciting feature: it will put people who are deaf and hard of hearing at its centre by working with us and our clients on designing tech solutions around end-user needs and experiences,” NextSense Chief Executive Chris Rehn said. "We know the best results come when support and services are built around individual goals—so the more precise and personalised we can make hearing technology, the better the outcomes for those who need it.”
What our partners say
— Simon Carlile, Senior Staff Research Scientist, Google Research Australia
Finding solutions for those with hearing loss is a global problem and we’re thrilled to be working with leaders in this field to explore new possibilities using AI. As part of Google’s Digital Future Initiative, this exciting collaboration will help us explore new ways to design and improve machine learning models that better fit the needs of the individual listener—and help develop a more precise and accessible approach to hearing care.
— Dig Howitt, CEO and President of Cochlear
Hearing loss is one of most prevalent but one of the least treated medical conditions in the world. This unique collaboration will bring together the world-leading expertise we have in Australia to find new technologies and solutions that can help more people around the world to hear better.
— Professor David McAlpine, Academic Director of Macquarie University Hearing
This initiative brings together some of the leading experts from the commercial, academic, not-for-profit, and government sectors to tackle the most pressing challenges for people living with hearing loss, and their families. We hope the projects we work on will help transform hearing health not only in Australia but worldwide, delivering ground-breaking research and innovations, new technologies, therapies, and interventions to support communication, wellbeing and social connectedness. These are ambitious goals that cannot be achieved in isolation, and we look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.
— Dr Brent Edwards, NAL Director
For over 75 years, NAL has been a pioneer in delivering hearing solutions through translational research collaborations with global leaders in the hearing healthcare ecosystem. This new initiative with Google is an opportunity to combine our unique innovation program and hearing loss expertise with Google’s AI capabilities. Together with our partners, we will be able to introduce new hearing solutions that improve the lives of those with hearing loss worldwide.
— Dr Aleisha Davis, Chief Executive Officer, The Shepherd Centre
Accessible hearing technology based on lived experience, that is personalised and designed to suit individual needs will open up worlds of possibility for the children, young people and adults of the future. This truly unique collaboration provides a cross sector partnership to explore solutions and innovation to support listening in all environments, and the most fundamental element of communication, human connection.