Katie Brown

Exploring hearing aids and super normal design

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This project will challenge prevalent visions for the future of hearing aid design: that they will 'disappear' through miniaturisation, or else by appearing to be something other than a hearing aid, whether mainstream consumer electronics or jewellery. And challenge the implication that this disappearance - even if possible - would be a positive outcome for everyone concerned.

The research aims to understanding the different social and cultural relationships that exist and their link to hearing aids. It will involve the experiences and perspectives of wearers, non-wearers, health care professionals and manufacturers of hearing aids.

In response, it will use super normal design: defined as the design of everyday objects that fit into our lives so comfortably as to usually go unnoticed. By which we mean the design of hearing aids that are in some ways archetypical hearing aids and recognisable as such, yet at the same time understated, subtly and beautifully resolved. 

Names of Supervisors: Dr Graham Pullin and Rodney Mountain