Introducing Hearing Birdsong, beautifully transforming hearing health

We were all ears when we heard about Hearing Birdsong, a beautiful and immersive new design initiative digitalizing the approach to hearing screening with an end goal of de-stigmatizing hearing loss. This one hits close to home since my husband is convinced I’m losing my hearing at too young an age (he doesn’t know it’s a selective situation). We encourage you to take a break from your busy day to experience the beta version here. The brainchild of Kennedy Woods, a social impact architecture and design practice, and Studiomade, a London-based digital creative agency, Hearing Birdsong is an immersive, human-centered design initiative that could transform the way hearing health is assessed.

Funded by the Design Age Institute, Hearing Birdsong provides users of all ages with an inspiring, enjoyable way to protect their hearing health and long-term wellbeing. 

Hearing Birdsong connects the user in an immersive digital experience to the natural environment removing the mechanical, abrasive sounds of a pure tone hearing test and replaces them with a richly detailed forest soundscape. Familiar birds call out across rolling thunderstorms, wind-rustled trees and flowing streams, blending into a dynamic yet calming audio-experience. What’s even cooler? Sophisticated audio engineering underpins this tranquility. 

Each of the five British bird calls have been digitally altered to occupy a narrow band of frequencies matching those examined during a traditional test. The soundscape provides users with performance indicators across their entire hearing range.

Hearing loss is a hidden UK health crisis. Addressing this is a huge untapped opportunity for long-term cognitive health, productive extended lifespans and improved quality of life. Yet social stigma and poor user-design relegate this critical issue, leaving an estimated 9 million age-related sufferers undiagnosed in the UK. 

Hearing Birdsong is to be exhibited as part of the ‘Future of Ageing’ exhibition at the Design Museum: 20 July – 11 September 2022. Learn more about the collaborators below. 

Hearing Birdsong: Collaborators

Tom Woods, co-founder of Kennedy Woods, created the concept in 2019 and carried its execution through to the initial digital prototype. Hearing Birdsong was awarded a grant by the Design Age Institute to develop it into a working digital prototype. Studiomade won a competitive tender in 2022 to partner for both the design and development build of Hearing Birdsong, including UX/UI approach, digital creation, user testing, and graphic design. Hearing Birdsong is the first Pathfinder project developed by the Design Age Institute. It is the work of an amazing roster of contributors – volunteers, practitioners, researchers, engineers, designers, developers, experts from UCL, Imperial College and the Dyson School of Engineering, and people with hearing loss including Professor Adrian Davis OBE. Professor Davis is responsible for research and systematic review that lead to newborn hearing screening in England and many other places.

About Studiomade

We help brands clarify their purpose, craft their vision and grow. Our strategists, designers, developers, animators and writers deliver across brand, digital, marketing and content creation.

We’ve helped brands such as Getir, Nissan and Studio Canal, right through to the Mayor of London and Action for Children build brand growth by exciting brand-led ideas and activations. We’re experts at helping clients quickly and skilfully navigate change. Together, we’ll scope out your needs, define your strategy and goals, and create powerful work that delivers meaningful results. 

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