Effects of Fast-Acting Hearing-Aid Compression on Audibility, Forward Masking and Speech Perception

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Dynamic range compression (DRC) is a widely-used compensation strategy in hearing aids. However, the choice of the compression parameters, such as time constants, is still the subject of an ongoing debate. This contribution evaluates the efficacy of fast-acting DRC as a hearing-loss compensation strategy in a range of experimental conditions. First, fast-acting DRC was investigated considering temporal masking of narrowband stimuli. The results of a model-driven evaluation showed that the measures of temporal resolution can be improved with fast-acting compression with a very short release time (10 ms). Second, the effects of compression on speech audibility and noise-induced forward masking were evaluated in a highly-controlled scenario. The application of very short compression time constants was shown to improve HI listeners' consonant recognition performance. Finally, despite the benefits of fast-acting compression apparent in controlled conditions, it may introduce distortion in realistic scenarios, such as a reduction in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). A novel signal-to-noise-ratio-aware compensation strategy is discussed, which switches between fast- and slow-acting compression depending on the presence of the target signal and therefore preserves the natural relationship between the target and the background. An objective evaluation of the algorithm is presented and its potential applications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 2018 Joint Conference - Acoustics
Number of pages9
PublisherIEEE
Publication date2018
Pages1-9
ISBN (Print)9781538671139
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event2018 Joint Conference - Acoustics - Grand Lubicz Hotel, Ustka, Poland
Duration: 11 Sep 201814 Sep 2018

Conference

Conference2018 Joint Conference - Acoustics
LocationGrand Lubicz Hotel
CountryPoland
CityUstka
Period11/09/201814/09/2018

Keywords

  • Hearing aids
  • Compression
  • Speech intelligibility
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Audio signal processing

Cite this

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title = "Effects of Fast-Acting Hearing-Aid Compression on Audibility, Forward Masking and Speech Perception",
abstract = "Dynamic range compression (DRC) is a widely-used compensation strategy in hearing aids. However, the choice of the compression parameters, such as time constants, is still the subject of an ongoing debate. This contribution evaluates the efficacy of fast-acting DRC as a hearing-loss compensation strategy in a range of experimental conditions. First, fast-acting DRC was investigated considering temporal masking of narrowband stimuli. The results of a model-driven evaluation showed that the measures of temporal resolution can be improved with fast-acting compression with a very short release time (10 ms). Second, the effects of compression on speech audibility and noise-induced forward masking were evaluated in a highly-controlled scenario. The application of very short compression time constants was shown to improve HI listeners' consonant recognition performance. Finally, despite the benefits of fast-acting compression apparent in controlled conditions, it may introduce distortion in realistic scenarios, such as a reduction in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). A novel signal-to-noise-ratio-aware compensation strategy is discussed, which switches between fast- and slow-acting compression depending on the presence of the target signal and therefore preserves the natural relationship between the target and the background. An objective evaluation of the algorithm is presented and its potential applications are discussed.",
keywords = "Hearing aids, Compression, Speech intelligibility, Psychoacoustics, Audio signal processing",
author = "Borys Kowalewski and Tobias May and Michal Fereczkowski and Johannes Zaar and Olaf Strelcyk and MacDonald, {Ewen N.} and Torsten Dau",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1109/ACOUSTICS.2018.8502390",
language = "English",
isbn = "9781538671139",
pages = "1--9",
booktitle = "Proceedings of 2018 Joint Conference - Acoustics",
publisher = "IEEE",
address = "United States",

}

Kowalewski, B, May, T, Fereczkowski, M, Zaar, J, Strelcyk, O, MacDonald, EN & Dau, T 2018, Effects of Fast-Acting Hearing-Aid Compression on Audibility, Forward Masking and Speech Perception. in Proceedings of 2018 Joint Conference - Acoustics. IEEE, pp. 1-9, 2018 Joint Conference - Acoustics, Ustka, Poland, 11/09/2018. https://doi.org/10.1109/ACOUSTICS.2018.8502390

Effects of Fast-Acting Hearing-Aid Compression on Audibility, Forward Masking and Speech Perception. / Kowalewski, Borys; May, Tobias; Fereczkowski, Michal; Zaar, Johannes; Strelcyk, Olaf; MacDonald, Ewen N.; Dau, Torsten.

Proceedings of 2018 Joint Conference - Acoustics. IEEE, 2018. p. 1-9.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review

TY - GEN

T1 - Effects of Fast-Acting Hearing-Aid Compression on Audibility, Forward Masking and Speech Perception

AU - Kowalewski, Borys

AU - May, Tobias

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AU - Strelcyk, Olaf

AU - MacDonald, Ewen N.

AU - Dau, Torsten

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Dynamic range compression (DRC) is a widely-used compensation strategy in hearing aids. However, the choice of the compression parameters, such as time constants, is still the subject of an ongoing debate. This contribution evaluates the efficacy of fast-acting DRC as a hearing-loss compensation strategy in a range of experimental conditions. First, fast-acting DRC was investigated considering temporal masking of narrowband stimuli. The results of a model-driven evaluation showed that the measures of temporal resolution can be improved with fast-acting compression with a very short release time (10 ms). Second, the effects of compression on speech audibility and noise-induced forward masking were evaluated in a highly-controlled scenario. The application of very short compression time constants was shown to improve HI listeners' consonant recognition performance. Finally, despite the benefits of fast-acting compression apparent in controlled conditions, it may introduce distortion in realistic scenarios, such as a reduction in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). A novel signal-to-noise-ratio-aware compensation strategy is discussed, which switches between fast- and slow-acting compression depending on the presence of the target signal and therefore preserves the natural relationship between the target and the background. An objective evaluation of the algorithm is presented and its potential applications are discussed.

AB - Dynamic range compression (DRC) is a widely-used compensation strategy in hearing aids. However, the choice of the compression parameters, such as time constants, is still the subject of an ongoing debate. This contribution evaluates the efficacy of fast-acting DRC as a hearing-loss compensation strategy in a range of experimental conditions. First, fast-acting DRC was investigated considering temporal masking of narrowband stimuli. The results of a model-driven evaluation showed that the measures of temporal resolution can be improved with fast-acting compression with a very short release time (10 ms). Second, the effects of compression on speech audibility and noise-induced forward masking were evaluated in a highly-controlled scenario. The application of very short compression time constants was shown to improve HI listeners' consonant recognition performance. Finally, despite the benefits of fast-acting compression apparent in controlled conditions, it may introduce distortion in realistic scenarios, such as a reduction in the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). A novel signal-to-noise-ratio-aware compensation strategy is discussed, which switches between fast- and slow-acting compression depending on the presence of the target signal and therefore preserves the natural relationship between the target and the background. An objective evaluation of the algorithm is presented and its potential applications are discussed.

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