Improving word recognition in noise among hearing-impaired subjects with a single-channel cochlear noise-reduction algorithm.J Acoust Soc Am. 2012 Sep; 132(3):1718-31.JA
A common complaint of the hearing impaired is the inability to understand speech in noisy environments even with their hearing assistive devices. Only a few single-channel algorithms have significantly improved speech intelligibility in noise for hearing-impaired listeners. The current study introduces a cochlear noise reduction algorithm. It is based on a cochlear representation of acoustic signals and real-time derivation of a binary speech mask. The contribution of the algorithm for enhancing word recognition in noise was evaluated on a group of 42 normal-hearing subjects, 35 hearing-aid users, 8 cochlear implant recipients, and 14 participants with bimodal devices. Recognition scores of Hebrew monosyllabic words embedded in Gaussian noise at several signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) were obtained with processed and unprocessed signals. The algorithm was not effective among the normal-hearing participants. However, it yielded a significant improvement in some of the hearing-impaired subjects under different listening conditions. Its most impressive benefit appeared among cochlear implant recipients. More than 20% improvement in recognition score of noisy words was obtained by 12, 16, and 26 hearing-impaired at SNR of 30, 24, and 18 dB, respectively. The algorithm has a potential to improve speech intelligibility in background noise, yet further research is required to improve its performances.