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Design and preliminary testing of a visually guided hearing aid
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1. Best, V. , Ozmeral, E. J. , and Shinn-Cunningham, B. G. (2007). “ Visually-guided attention enhances target identification in a complex auditory scene,” J. Assoc. Res. Otolaryngol. 8, 294304.
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View: Figures


Image of FIG. 1.

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FIG. 1.

(Color online) A schematic illustration of the test facility and instrumentation configuration (conceptual, not to scale; see text) for the prototype VGHA.

Image of FIG. 2.

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FIG. 2.

(A) Octave-band analysis of the output of the beam-forming microphone array (referenced to the maximum level) for a broad-band noise source at 0° as the ALD is swept from −45° to +45°. (B) The measured temporal response of the VGHA. The temporally leading trace indicated the position of the visual marker (Target); the next trace (Gaze) was the subject's eye position while tracking the moving target; and the final trace (ALD) was the response of the array to changes in eye position.

Image of FIG. 3.

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FIG. 3.

(A) Group mean T/Ms at threshold (and standard deviations) for the NH subjects in Experiment 1. (B) The same for two unilateral HL listeners. (C) Group means (and standard deviations) in percentage correct for Experiment 2. Refer to legends and text for all three panels.


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An approach to hearing aid design is described, and preliminary acoustical and perceptual measurements are reported, in which an acoustic beam-forming microphone array is coupled to an eye-glasses-mounted eye-tracker. This visually guided hearing aid (VGHA)—currently a laboratory-based prototype—senses direction of gaze using the eye tracker and an interface converts those values into control signals that steer the acoustic beam accordingly. Preliminary speech intelligibility measurements with noise and speech maskers revealed near- or better-than normal spatial release from masking with the VGHA. Although not yet a wearable prosthesis, the principle underlying the device is supported by these findings.


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Scitation: Design and preliminary testing of a visually guided hearing aid