Supporting noise sensitive patients through rehabilitation

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.

Relief was completed in collaboration between Kolbacken Rehabilitation Centre, Norrlands University Hospital and Umea Institute of Design in Northern Sweden. As part of my Master Thesis in Advanced Product Design (MFA) I completed all aspects of product development from user research, journey mapping, ideation, prototyping, visualisation and final design concept.  

A prescribed treatment

Relief is 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 down will 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. 

“What's important is how my patients are functioning in the real world”. 

Nils, Neuropsychologist, Norrlands University Hospital. 

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© 2020 by James Skeggs.