Super excited for this project!


#1

I discovered Tympan while searching for others doing some DIY hearing aid projects.

Myself I was born deaf in one ear (SSD or single-sided deafness), in October of 2015 I was ‘sold’ the idea that there’s a device from a company Cochlear who makes a product called a BAHA 5. BAHA is a bone anchored hearing aid, that connects to your skull by either a magnet and metal disk under the skin, or a titanium abutment that protrudes through the skin.

I have the Attract method, which is the metal disk under the skin.

Short’n’sweet version: got the BAHA 5 and it really sucks. It’s simply not loud enough to be of any benefit to me.

I’ve spent the last 1.5 years learning, cobbling and hacking my way towards a better hearing aid than what they sold me.

Thanks to the internet, China and determination I’ve had some decent success. Using a PAM3804 based amplifier module, an electret microphone, lipo usb battery charger, 18650 battery and a surface exciter transducer that I run a wire from my mic’n’amp combo to the transducer I magnet to my head. 3D printed enclosures for everything.

End up with something that looks like a Walkman that I wear on an armband and the only thing that really sticks out as odd is that a wire and a tiny block runs right up to my skull behind my ear.

Another plus is that it works extremely well and use it often. I’d easily toot my own horn and say it’s 10x’s better than what Cochlear sold me.

To be fair, I have perfect hearing in my good ear and my device has no filtering capability what-so-ever so my solution isn’t ideal for a lot of people

But my BOM is now under $20 (thanks to having a pair of 3D printers), so my starting out with never holding a soldering iron to making this work for myself? Pretty stoked.

I also know where my weaknesses are, I’m not an electrical engineer and don’t really wanna be one. I tinker, I do some Arduino based stuff these days, Python scripts, etc. but I lack the skills to do what you guys have done.

Super excited to have found this project and anxiously await to see where it leads.

So I really want to get my hands on one of the Tympan boards! I really want to get my hands on one and start experimenting.


#2

Hey, thanks so much for your interest! I love to hear about people taking technology into their own hands and you sure have done that!

Your point about your hearing aid not having enough volume is a really tricky issue for a project like Tympan. If a device is too powerful, you risk people causing more damage to their hearing…which is exactly the OPPOSITE of what we’re trying to do here. So, for safety’s sake, one has to be a bit conservative in the amount of power we can deliver to earpieces.

Right now, we’ve chosen to design the Tympan to use a cell phone class of headphone amplifier. We have lots of gain available, but in terms of maximum volume that can be delivered via an earpiece, we’ve got similar power limits as seen with a cell phone headphone jack.

If that’s not loud enough, one can always hack onto the Tympan a secondary amplifier to boost the volume. Man, that would be so cool to see! What a great project it’d be. And, it’d be right in-line why we’re making open source hardware…being open source enables users to learn from and then extend the work to suit their own needs. Don’t feel stuck with what you buy…make it your own! Smell the solder!

Chip


#3

My case is a bit unique, my bad ear has a dead cochlea. Since the sound is routed through my skull to my good ear it takes a considerable amount of amplification to get through my thick head to my good ear. Consulted with my ENT about my project and his advice was to treat it the same you would using headphones, keep the volume to a safe level and there wouldn’t be too much risk. Using my phone that has controls to throttle the volume to a max decibel, was able to figure out where that safe threshold is by switching from my DIY bone-anchored setup and a headphone in my good ear.

I personally believe that concessions were made by Cochlear and their BAHA 5 to keep the unit compact to fit and light enough to hang off the magnet. The biggest concession is that the transducer is too small to deliver rich sound or appreciable volume.

I’ll be ready to whip out my credit card and find a “Shut up and take my money” meme soon as Tympan becomes available.


#4

Hi @Eric,
Well I’m super excited that you’re super excited! If you have not joined our mailing list, please take a moment and be among the first to know when our online store is open to ‘take your money’! Production is under way, and we anticipate launch within the next two weeks!


#5

I had already done so, but I do appreciate the heads up and will give me ample time to find the appropriate meme for the occasion!