The healthy human hearing system is capable of performing well in a variety of adverse acoustic conditions. A listener who has a hearing deficit, however, even if it affects only one ear, typically finds it much more difficult to understand a conversation in the presence of competing sounds.
Binaural hearing provides the auditory system with a means of distinguishing one sound from another based on their different locations. It also plays an important role in increasing intelligibility in the presence of room reverberation.
We are investigating a wide variety of spatial cues and evaluating their potential for improving the intelligibility of speech in challenging acoustic environments. Our goal is to develop a binaural audio algorithm suitable for implementing in a binaural hearing aid. To this end, we are investigating ways of optimising the intelligibility of wanted speech by adaptively identifying the most important cues for doing so, depending on the acoustic environment.