Exzellencluster im Auditory Valley
Research area C: Basic Research for Assistive Auditory Technology
Research area C focuses on investigating the foundations for new technologies that will assist hearing-impaired and normal hearing listeners to hear properly in the “auditory world”, especially in complex everyday listening situations.
To establish “hearing for all”, a particular focus will be placed on developing hearing support for the subclinical population with an age-related progressive, but not yet medically diagnosed and treated, hearing loss (Task Group 6). By integrating some of the technologies primarily developed in the field of hearing devices (Research Area B) into conventional communication and entertainment devices, such as mobile phones, video-conferencing systems and TVs, this group of individuals can be engaged in treatment before central modifications due to peripheral dysfunction occur.
Since detailed clinical information about hearing ability (e.g., the audiogram) cannot be expected to be available for the subclinical population, dedicated screening and self-fitting procedures (‘subclinical audiology’) are explored, which in addition to hearing ability should provide information about personal listening preference. Similar to the auditory profile developed in Research Area A, this will result in an auditory consumer profile, which can be used to individualise the processing strategies of the assistive listening devices. Furthermore, the algorithms for source selection and segregation and for acoustical presentation, developed in Research Area B, will be extended towards acoustic scene interpretation exploiting room acoustic information (possibly making use of additional external microphones and loudspeakers). As an innovative concept for steering assistive listening devices in complex acoustic scenes, Task Group 7 will explore how brain activity recorded with non-invasive EEG electrodes can be used in an auditory Brain-Computer Interface