Designing for Human-Machine Collaboration: Smart Hearing Aids as Wearable Technologies

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This study examines design aspects that shape human/machine
collaboration between wearers of smart hearing aids and their
networked aids. The Starkey Halo hearing aid and the TruLink
iPhone app that facilitates real-time adjustments by the wearer
offer a case study in designing for this sort of collaboration and
for the wearer’s rhetorical management of disability disclosure in
social contexts. Through close textual analysis of the company’s
promotional materials for patient and professional audiences as
well as interface analysis and autoethnography, I examine the ways
that close integration between the wearer, onboard algorithms and
hardware, and geolocative telemetry shape everyday interactions
in multiple hearing situations. Reliance on ubiquitous, familiar
hardware such as smart phones and intuitive interface design
can drive patient comfort and adoption rates of these complex
technologies that influence cognitive health, social connectedness,
and crucial information access.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-51
JournalCommunication Design Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017


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