Development and performance analysis of a low-cost MEMS microphone-based hearing aid with three different audio amplifiers

Abstract

In this paper, MEMS-based capacitive microphone and low-cost amplifier are designed for low-cost power-efficient hearing aid application. The developed microphone along with the associated circuitry is mounted on a common board in the form of pocket-type (body-worn) device. The designed microphone consists of a flexible circular silicon nitrite (Si3N4) diaphragm and a polysilicon-perforated back plate with air as dielectric between them. The incident acoustic waves on the sensor cause deflection of the diaphragm to alter the air gap between the perforated back plate (fixed electrode) and the diaphragm (moving plate) which causes a change in capacitance. The acoustic pressure applied to the microphone is from 0 to 100 Pa for an operating range of 100 Hz–10 kHz which corresponds to the audible frequency range in case of human beings. The main purpose of this work is to increase the longevity of battery used in conventional hearing aids. The designed MEMS microphone with Si3N4 diaphragm is capable of identifying acoustic frequencies (100 Hz to 10 kHz) which correspond to a specific change in absolute pressure from 0 to 100 Pa for 2-micron-thick diaphragm with a sensitivity of about 0.08676 mV/Pa. The design of the sensor and the characteristics analysis are performed in FEM-based simulation software, which are later validated in real time. The prototype is designed using MEMS microphone and low-cost amplifier ICs with biasing components in the form of pocket-type (body-worn) hearing aid. In order to study the performance of proposed device, three different market-available amplifiers with controllable gain are used. Finally, the performance of the hearing aid is studied through audio spectrogram analysis to choose the best-suited amplifier among the three.

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Correspondence to Madhurima Chttopadhyay.

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Mallik, S., Chowdhury, D. & Chttopadhyay, M. Development and performance analysis of a low-cost MEMS microphone-based hearing aid with three different audio amplifiers. Innovations Syst Softw Eng 15, 17–25 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11334-019-00325-7

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Keywords

  • MEMS
  • Microphone
  • Circular diaphragm
  • FEM
  • Hearing aid
  • Amplifier