My name is Lang Elliott and I am spearheading the creation of Hear Birds Again, a mobile application for bird enthusiasts who suffer from high frequency hearing loss and desire to once again enjoy the uplifting songs of wild birds.
This is a non-profit effort. Hear Birds Again will be a free, open-source iOS app (hopefully with an Android version to follow) that employs advanced algorithms to lower the pitch of bird songs in real time, thereby making them audible during walks in nature. Once we publish the initial version, our source code will be made available to other developers who may then help us improve our existing app or else use the code in their own productions. Our intent is to share freely to encourage continued development of more evolved solutions.
Donate Now to help us give birth to Hear Birds Again, which will help bring joy into the lives of nature lovers who no longer hear the high-pitched songs of birds.
PROGRESS REPORT – 12 May 2022
While our programming has taken longer than anticipated, we are pleased to announce that we now have a fully working prototype of our app and are currently testing it in the field. This “barebones” version has three divide-by settings (1/2, 1/3 and 1/4) and includes four input filter settings to control the frequency at which the pitch-lowering begins (which is user-selectable and dependent on the details of each user’s hearing loss). We’ve also added a supplementary volume control for those who desire extra amplification of the pitch-lowered signals. After our field tests, we’ll move on to tweaking the UI (User Interface) and adding instructions and other relevant information. Then we will move ahead with publishing our app in Apple’s App Store.
In order for users to detect the high-pitched singers and locate them in a 3D listening environment, a special “binaural” headset will need to be used in conjunction with the AI-Micro adapter made by Rode (available in the US for $79 from retailers such as B&H or Adorama). The headset will require a bit of do-it-yourself effort. The microphones (with cables and plugs) will be available from Micbooster.com (I’ll provide more details about this later). The mics will need to be hand-mounted (using a glue gun) on Koss KSC75 earclip headphones ($20), which are readily available from various retailers the world over. Finally, the cables of the mics and the headphones will need to be hand-braided to produce the final headset. We regret that there is no optimal off-the-shelf headset solution currently available, although the now-discontinued though still on-sale Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset will work (just be aware the mics are quite noisy, and we have no idea how much longer this item will be available).
As for fund-raising, we’ve now brought in nearly $8000.00, which is helping propel us toward completing the first stage of the Hear Birds Again project. We very much look forward to getting the first version of our app published so that we can obtain feedback and begin adding features that will make it even more useful to bird enthusiasts who suffer from high frequency hearing loss.
That’s about it for now. I’ll post a new progress report when we’re ready to publish the first version of our app.
Do You Have Trouble Hearing Bird Songs?
This project is sponsored by Miracle of Nature, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit.