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.
Inspiration and Method
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 careers.
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 to current noise cancellation products and adapting to individual needs through a modular system during long-term recovery.
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.