Best application of head-related transfer functions for competing voices speech recognition in hearing-impaired listeners
When presenting separated speech sources over hearing aids, should the normal physical spatial cues be restored? The answer was sought by presenting speech sources to a listener via headphones, either directly or after application of generic head-related-transfer functions (HRTF) in different modes to simulate free-field listening. For the presentation of two competing voices, we have measured the relative monaural and binaural contributions to speech intelligibility using a previously developed competing voices test. Two consecutive tests, using 13 and 10 hearing-impaired listeners with moderate, sloping hearing losses were conducted, combining different HRTF modes and horizontal plane angles. We found that neither the monaural HRTF gain nor the binaural cues imposed through crosstalk do affect the speech recognition. The only factor improving the competing voices scores is a large spatial separation, with as little mixing of the two voices as possible.
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