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Pausch: Spatial audio reproduction for hearing aid research: System design, evaluation and application

November 26 @ 11:00 - 12:00

Hearing loss (HL) has multifaceted negative consequences for individuals of all age groups. Despite individual fitting based on clinical assessment, consequent usage of hearing aids (HAs) as a remedy is often discouraged due to unsatisfactory HA performance. Consequently, the procedural complexity in HA algorithm development has been increased by employing virtual acoustic environments, allowing simulation of indoor scenarios with plausible room acoustics. Inspired by the research question of how to make virtual acoustic environments accessible for HA users while maintaining complete signal control, novel concepts addressing combined perception via HAs and residual hearing are proposed. The specific system implementations employ a master HA and research HAs for aided signal provision, and loudspeaker-based spatial audio methods for external sound field reproduction. Recommendations on system configurations for stable operation on desktop computers are provided. Perceptual investigations involving adults with normal hearing revealed that the characteristics of the used research HAs primarily affect sound localisation performance, while still allowing comparable egocentric auditory distance estimates as observed in loudspeaker-based reproduction. To demonstrate the system applicability, school-age children with HL fitted with research HAs were tested for speech-in-noise perception in a virtual classroom and showed comparable speech reception thresholds as a comparison group using commercial HAs, supporting the validity of the HA simulation. The inability to perform spatial unmasking of speech compared to their peers with normal hearing implies that reverberation times above 0.4 s have extensive disruptive effects on spatial processing in children with HL. Collectively, the results from evaluation and application indicate that the proposed systems satisfy core criteria towards their use in HA research.

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Zoom-Meeting-ID: 962 0081 6605
Passwort: 631489


November 26
11:00 - 12:00