A patient-centred device to improve hearing aid satisfaction

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Electrical and Electronic Engineering


What are the technical reasons for the lack of perceived benefit of hearing aids, leading to their low uptake and abandonment by people with hearing loss ?
Many software models exist to predict sound quality and intelligibility of an acoustic signal. They tend to produce an index or grade of the residual desirable features of the signal. However, they do not identify the cause of the loss of the desirable features. Identifying the cause of the degradation will permit identification of the device that is (primarily) producing the loss
Routemap: The overview is to investigate the contributors to, and manifestation of, sound degradation in the transmission of audio captured in high quality (a broadcast source) and relayed to a hearing-impaired listener seated in a controlled listening environment. The format of the project is to investigate audio quality degradation in a broadcast audio chain, from signal capture (microphone), processing (poor enunciation, noise reduction, dynamic range compression, mixing, matrixing, perceptual coding) for presentation to a listener sitting in a televisual environment (video not essential). Each degradation is expected to produce a "fingerprint" on the spectro-temporal modulations and their inter-relationships across multiple sources. The aim of the project is to develop software tools that will identify, or classify the fingerprints : e.g "this source has suffered poor signal capture, minor dynamic range compression, and has an adverse signal-to-noise ratio". The project also includes an element of EEG to link objective measures of audio perception to subjective measures received from the listener. Ultimately, the software would predict that the perceived audio quality as well as the reason/processing stage that caused the loss.


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