Taylor & Francis Group
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Effects of noise and reverberation on speech recognition with variants of a multichannel adaptive dynamic range compression scheme

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posted on 2019-09-04, 14:18 authored by Varsha H. Rallapalli, Joshua M. Alexander

Objective: Adaptive compression methods in hearing aids have been developed to maximise audibility while preserving temporal envelope modulations. Increasing the number of channels may improve listening comfort for loud sounds. However, the effects of this on speech recognition in different environmental conditions are unknown. This study evaluated the effects of different channel architectures and adaptive compression properties on speech recognition in noise and reverberation.

Design: Sentences were mixed with steady or modulated noise at three signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). These were processed with and without reverberation and amplified with four proprietary adaptive compression methods or linear amplification.

Study sample: 36 listeners with mild to moderately-severe hearing loss.

Results: Adaptive compression improved speech recognition over linear amplification to a small extent, with no significant differences among methods using 4 or 24 channels or a combination thereof. These effects remained across the different background noise and reverberation conditions.

Conclusions: Increasing the number of channels does not negatively affect speech recognition in noise and reverberation when adaptive compression is used. If future research shows that increasing the number of channels improves listening comfort for loud sounds, these results indicate that adaptive compression methods with as many as 24 channels are viable options for hearing aids.


Funding for the project was provided by Oticon A/S.