Improving Speech Intelligibility for the Hearing Impaired

The Invention An improved method for processing audio inputs to hearing impaired, allowing them to better understand speech in a noisy environment The Need Most common speech enhancement techniques were designed and developed on the basis of cochlear psychoacoustical and physiological research. In the normal cochlea, there are about 10,000 outer hair cells (OHC). The most frequent cause of cochlear hearing loss is OHC loss. Since 1950 researchers have been developing cochlear models with recent models considering the contribution of the outer hair cells. Most of these cochlear models were solved in the frequency domain. They are successful in predicting several cochlear phenomena, but are not always adequate in simulating the dynamic properties of the cochlear signal processing especially when non-stationary signals such as speech are involved. We incorporated a complete OHC model in the cochlear model which amplifies the cochlear response especially in the middle part of the cochlear partition, which corresponds to the characteristic frequencies of 2 to 6 kHz. On the basis of the cochlear response a heuristic algorithm for reconstruction of noisy speech signal was developed. When tested on hearing impaired patients, this led to a significant improvement in speech intelligibility in noisy environments Potential Applications One of the most common complaints among patients with cochlear hearing loss is difficulty in understanding speech in a noisy environment with or without their hearing assisting devices (hearing aids or cochlear implant). Current hearing aids work well in quiet environments and provide the hearing impaired with improved understanding of auditory signals. Yet hearing assisting devices are less efficient in noisy environments. About 10% of the world's population has some degree of hearing loss, and the number is expected to grow rapidly as the population ages. Many who have suffered a hearing loss feel restricted socially and professionally. Current hearing aids for OHC include a battery operated outer module where the electronic processing and conversion of sound takes place. Modification of the module to incorporate TAU's improved algorithm is relatively simple and requires minor re-engineering Patent US patent pending

Type of Offer: Licensing

Next Patent »
« More Medical Devices Patents

Share on      

CrowdSell Your Patent