Improving Speech Intelligibility by Hearing Aid Eye-Gaze Steering: Conditions With Head Fixated in a Multitalker Environment

Antoine Favre-Félix*, Carina Graversen, Renskje K. Hietkamp, Torsten Dau, Thomas Lunner

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

The behavior of a person during a conversation typically involves both auditory and visual attention. Visual attention implies that the person directs his or her eye gaze toward the sound target of interest, and hence, detection of the gaze may provide a steering signal for future hearing aids. The steering could utilize a beamformer or the selection of a specific audio stream from a set of remote microphones. Previous studies have shown that eye gaze can be measured through electrooculography (EOG). To explore the precision and real-time feasibility of the methodology, seven hearing-impaired persons were tested, seated with their head fixed in front of three targets positioned at −30°, 0°, and +30° azimuth. Each target presented speech from the Danish DAT material, which was available for direct input to the hearing aid using head-related transfer functions. Speech intelligibility was measured in three conditions: a reference condition without any steering, a condition where eye gaze was estimated from EOG measures to select the desired audio stream, and an ideal condition with steering based on an eye-tracking camera. The “EOG-steering” improved the sentence correct score compared with the “no-steering” condition, although the performance was still significantly lower than the ideal condition with the eye-tracking camera. In conclusion, eye-gaze steering increases speech intelligibility, although real-time EOG-steering still requires improvements of the signal processing before it is feasible for implementation in a hearing aid.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Hearing
Volume22
Pages (from-to)1-13
ISSN2331-2165
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Eye tracking
  • Electrooculography
  • Hearing device
  • Sound perception

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