Relief is an audio device that reduces the discomfort of noise sensitivity, a common symptom for patients recovering from Post Concussion Syndrome or similar types of Acquired Brain Injury. Providing a discreet alternative that adapts to individual needs, creates actionable data for medical carers and brings reassurance for patients and their families through long-term rehabilitation.
Furthermore, Relief creates actionable data during rehabilitation and learns what type of sounds are comfortable for each patient while gently increasing exposure overtime. Allowing medical carers to optimize treatment, bring transparency to consultations and most importantly provide reassurance for patients and their loved ones.
Outside of head injuries, Relief is also very useful for a wide range of people. Whether this is someone with Misophonia (noise phobia), working in a loud environment (e.g. chefs, construction, dentists, airports etc) or just after some piece and quiet.
Every year an estimated 42 million people suffer from concussion, an injury triggered by a blow to the body or head that causes the brain to shake inside the skull. The key symptoms are disabling cognitive, physiological or behavioural impairments that impact everyday life and have the ability to significantly change someones' life. After three months of prolonged symptoms a further 10-15% of patients will be diagnosed with Post-Concussion Syndrome and most likely suffer from hyperacusis, or sensitivity to sound during long term rehabilitation.
In collaboration with Kolbacken Rehabilitation Centre and Norrlands University Hospital in Northern Sweden, a human centered design approach was undertaken to continually validate and iterate ideas. Initially, several interviews were conducted with concussion specialists and researchers throughout the world (including England, United States, Canada, Copenhagen and New Zealand) to better understand the complexity surrounding this invisible injury. Followed by several meetings and immersive sessions with local patients to learn about their stories, build empathy and relate to the effect of concussion on an everyday scale. Eventually developing and narrowing ideas through prototyping to create a solution that is based on direct feedback from patients and their medical carers.
The final solution Relief consists of an audio device that reduces the discomfort of noise sensitivity. Providing a discreet alternative to current noise cancellation products and offering a modular system that adapts to each patient's individual recovery. Key features and experiences include:
A prescribed + tailored treatment
Relief will be prescribed, calibrated and fitted during initial consultation. Interchangeable ear tips are available in a range of sizes, while the malleable wire fits snuggly across a variety of ears and holds it shape.
Noise cancellation that adapts
Relief will learn what sounds are comfortable and uncomfortable for each patient. Using a balance of active and passive noise cancellation technology to establish an individual threshold that slowly increases exposure overtime. Holding downwards will also activate the 'silence mode', giving patients a moment to experience a near silence effect and rest.
Create actionable data
Relief brings transparency to consultations, allowing medical professionals to better understand how their patients are functioning in the real world, document change and create tangible results that improves treatment.
Celebrate or wear discreet
From wearing 'Relief' for a more discreet fit or connecting 'Relief Extend' to achieve longer battery life. Patients have access to a modular system that accommodates different needs and adapts to change throughout long-term rehabilitation.
Docking station + power-bank
'Relief Extend' is a pocket-sized charging station, power bank or docking station depending on device configuration. LED feedback provides direct indication when battery life is running low or charging is complete. While the transparent lid keeps Relief protected and maintains patients uniquely molded profile.
Rather than creating an isolated treatment, Relief considers the entire rehabilitation process and needs of patients their friends, families and medical carers. Focusing on creating a system that is flexible, offers users a choice (or develops through their own rehabilitation) and provides new ways to track and record patient comfort levels through recovery.