Apple patents involve hearing assistance systems
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Apple patents involve hearing assistance systems



Two Apple patents involving hearing assistance systems have appeared at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Both apparently involve iOS devices.

Patent number 20120215532 is for a hearing assistance system for providing consistent human speech. It describe san apparatus, system, and method that allows a user of a hearing assistance system to perceive consistent human speech. The consistent human speech can be based upon user specific preferences.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "Broadly speaking, the embodiments disclosed herein describe providing individualized consistent speech patterns to a user of a hearing assistance system. More specifically, a method performed by a portable computing device for providing consistent speech is described. In one embodiment, the portable computing device includes an audio processing component coupled with an audio input device.

"The method can be performed by carrying out the following operations: receiving human speech at the audio input device, converting the human speech to text, converting the text directly to a consistent speech using a text to speech protocol, and passing the consistent speech to an output device.

"In one aspect of the described embodiment, an end user provides an evaluation of the consistent speech that can be used to identify the text to speech protocol used to convert the text directly to consistent speech as a preferred conversion protocol.

"In one embodiment, a hearing assistance system includes at least a portable computing device having at least a user input interface, an audio input device arranged to receive human speech, a speech consistency engine coupled to the audio input device arranged to receive the human speech from the audio input device and condition the received human speech into consistent human speech, and an interface arranged to facilitate the establishment of a communication link between the speech consistency engine and an output device. In the described embodiment, the consistent human speech is passed from the speech consistency engine to the output device.

"In another embodiment, non-transitory computer readable medium for storing a computer program executable by a processor in a portable computing device for providing consistent speech is described. In the described embodiment, the portable computing device includes an audio processing component coupled with an audio input device. The non-transitory computer readable medium includes computer code for receiving human speech at the audio input device, computer code for converting the human speech to text, computer code for converting the text directly to a consistent speech using a text to speech protocol, and computer code for passing the consistent speech to an output device.

"A method of calibrating a hearing assistance system for providing a consistent human speech at an output device of the hearing assistance system is described. The method can be carried out by receiving a human speech calibration file at a venue, the human speech calibration file including at least an idiosyncratic human speech artifact, converting the human speech calibration file to the consistent human speech using at least a current consistent speech preference, receiving an evaluation of the consistent human speech, associating the current consistent speech preference with a venue when the evaluation indicates that the consistent human speech is acceptable."

Patent number 20120213393 is for providing notification sounds in a customizable manner. It describes an apparatus, system, and method that allow a user to perceive notifications (audible or otherwise) corresponding to an external event in any manner deemed appropriate.

Here's Apple's summary of the invention: "Broadly speaking, the embodiments disclosed herein describe providing individualized notification to a hearing impaired person. More specifically, in one embodiment, a method performed by a processor for presenting an audible rendering of an event notification signal generated by a notifying device in response to an external event is described.

"The method is performed by carrying out at least the following operations: receiving the event notification signal at the processing device, processing the event notification signal by the processing device in accordance with a user preference to form the audible rendering of the event notification signal, passing the audible rendering of the event notification signal to an output device, and presenting the audible rendering of the event notification signal by the output device. In one embodiment, the audible rendering of the event notification signal is remapped from the audible rendering of the event notification to a remapped audible rendering based upon a remapping user preference.

"A system arranged for providing hearing assistance includes at least a computing device. In one embodiment, the computing device is in communication with a hearing assistance device having an output arranged to provide an output suitable for being perceived by a user of the system and a processor that receives an event notification signal provided by a notifying device indicating that an event has occurred.

"The computing device processes the event notification signal in accordance with an audio processing profile to form an audible rendering of the event notification signal, passes the audible rendering of the event notification signal to the output device, and presents the audible rendering of the event notification signal by the output device.

"Non-transitory computer readable medium for storing computer code executable by a processor in a hearing assistance device for presenting an audible version of an event notification signal includes at least computer code for receiving the event notification signal at a processing device, processing the event notification signal by the processing device in accordance with a user preference to form the audible rendering of the event notification signal, passing the audible rendering of the event notification signal to an output device, and presenting the audible rendering of the event notification signal by the hearing aid output device. In one embodiment, the audible rendering of the event notification signal is remapped from the audible rendering of the event notification to a remapped audible rendering in accordance with a user remapping preference.

"A hearing assistance device for presenting an audible version of an event notification generated in response to at least one external event includes at least a processor, a data storage device arranged to store at least a hearing aid profile, an output device, and an interface in communication with the processor for receiving the event notification.

"In one embodiment, the processor processes the event notification signal to form the audible version of the event notification in accordance with the hearing aid profile, passes the audible version of the event notification signal to the output device, and presents the audible version of the event notification signal by the hearing aid output device."

The inventors on both patents are Edwin W. Foo and Gregory F. Hughes.

 
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