Assessing real-life impact of hearing disorders and devices

Project aim

The project examines real-world acoustic environments and real-world communication tasks. These two areas of research are highly complementary, and their combination will result in a powerful new approach to the assessment of real-life hearing ability and hearing devices.

The broad goals of the proposed work are to:

  1. Develop a new framework for assessing real-world speech communication abilities in the laboratory by combining a realistic sentence task and ongoing speech comprehension task with recorded real-world sound environments simulated within a 3D loudspeaker array,
  2. Apply this new framework to predict the benefit of hearing instruments in the real-world, and
  3. Establish test protocol based on the developed speech materials, tools, acoustic environments and findings.

In contrast to standard speech tests, where listing difficulty is mainly controlled by the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), here listening difficulty will be determined by the acoustic complexity of the considered environments (e.g., the amount of reverberation, number and location of background talkers, and additional noise sources) as well as the number/dynamics of target talkers participating in the conversation. Performance on this test will be compared to performance on a standard sentence test and to subjective measures of listening difficulty.



Macquarie University, Cochlear, Technical University of Denmark, Linkoping University, Boston University