Hearing impairment is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions, affecting approximately 15% of the world population. While the number of hearing aid and cochlear implant users has grown spectacularly over the last years, current technology in hearing instruments does not yet provide a suitable answer to some of the major problems caused by hearing impairment, such as speech understanding in noisy environments and directional hearing.
The objective of this project is to develop advanced digital signal pro cessing algorithms for hearing instruments, enabling a hearing impaired person to engage in a conversation in an equally comfortable way as a normal hearing person. We anticipate that this objective can be achieved by applying perceptual auditory models in combination with robust multi-microphone speech enhancement techniques, where both monaural and binaural signal processing strategies will be investigated. This involves a natural but at the same time highly non-trivial and challenging extension of the currently available systems.
The total envisaged project duration is 3 years, of which 2 years will be spent at the partner institution (McMaster University, Canada) under supervision of Prof. Simon Haykin and 1 year will be spent at the return host institution (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium) under supervision of Prof. Marc Moonen, hence enhancing the mobility of the applying European researcher and providing an opportunity to receive training at an advanced level.
This project can be categorised as applied IST research addressing a major societal challenge, enhancing the communication abilities and improving the quality of life of the large and growing community of hearing impaired people.
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