A HEARING aid which "see" and lip read is to be developed by a team led by a Scots scientist

The invention will be designed to help users in noisy environments, and will use a miniaturised camera that can lip read, process information in real time, and seamlessly fuse and switch between audio and visual cues.

Professor Amir Hussain of Stirling University is leading the joint research project, with £500,000 from the UK Government's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry.

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He said: "This exciting world-first project has the potential to significantly improve the lives of millions of people who have hearing difficulties.

"Existing commercial hearing aids are capable of working on an audio-only basis, but the next-generation audio-visual model we want to develop will intelligently track the target speaker's face for visual cues, like lip reading."

The software is expected to help open up more everyday environments for some of the 10 million people, or one in six of the UK population, who suffer from some form of hearing loss.