Announcing the CISE-funded Hearables Challenge

May 17, 2017

The Hearables Challenge sponsored by NSF/CISE seeks solutions, such as algorithms or methods, that could improve the clarity of conversation in noisy environments. A total of $146,000 is available for cash prizes. 

While some hearable technologies (i.e., hearing aids and assistive listening devices) can enhance hearing for many individuals, there are situations where these technologies do not perform optimally.  One particularly challenging situation for people with hearing impairment is understanding conversation in a noisy environment such as a restaurant.  Inability to hear clearly because of background noise and intermittent peaks in noise makes following a conversation difficult.  Amplification of speech sounds will also amplify the background noise.  The Hearables Challenge seeks solutions that could improve the clarity of conversation in noisy settings.

To learn more, see

Note that submissions are being accepted on a third-party site.  Please see the external site for instructions on how to submit to the Hearables Challenge at:

Follow the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #HearablesChallenge.



Program Contact: Wendy Nilsen,

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

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