Thursday, 4 October 2012

Just published: Sound perception improves with enhanced onsets of the speech envelope in adverse listening conditions

Many people that have a hearing loss use auditory prostheses like hearing aids and cochlear implants. Often, they have no trouble to understand speech when they are talking to you in a quiet environment, but the speech understanding abilities decrease rapidly when interfering sound sources are present, e.g. in a restaurant, on the street, in a bar...

Speech enhancement algorithms were developed that try to process the signal in a way to improve speech intelligibility. We developed a new algorithm called enhanced envelope (EE) strategy that emphasizes the onsets of the speech envelope in adverse listening conditions. Onsets are just the first milliseconds of a speech signal after a period of silence. Therefore, we try to improve the access to the sentence structure. You can compare it with a study done in Cambridge which showed that it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteers be at the rghit pclae.
In tests with CI simulations that are used for normal-hearing listeners to mimic the sound perception of a cochlear users, we showed that an improvement with the new EE strategy was obtained in a stationary noise and when two speakers are talking at the same time.

For more information, please refer to our paper.

Koning, R., & Wouters, J, (2012). The potential of onset enhancement for increased speech intelligibility in auditory prostheses. J Acoust Soc Am, 132(4), 2569-2581.

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