Innovative methods and technologies for spatial listening and speech intelligibility using hearing implants
The proportion of the population with acquired hearing loss is increasing worldwide. Specific types of hearing loss require the treatment with hearing implants. Cochlear implants and bone conduction hearing implants are two examples. The present contribution is a prospect of the underlying project in its early stadium. The project addresses new methods and technologies that improve spatial hearing with such implants. The methods are adjusted specifically for both types of hearing implants. For cochlear implants bioinspired signal processing methods are applied. For bone conduction implants new working principles for mechanical stimulation based on piezoelectric transducers are investigated. To evaluate the developments perceptional experiments are conducted, which investigate spatial hearing and speech intelligibility with normal-hearing and hearing-impaired persons. For this purpose a virtual listening environment is applied to synthesize different room acoustics, source positions, audio signals, and acoustic scenes with different complexity. Cochlear implants and a custom-made bone conduction device are used as playback systems. The bone conduction device generates the mechanical input and transmits mechanical oscillations via the temporal bone to the cochlea. Listening tests assess speech intelligibility with spatially distributed background noise and localization abilities.
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