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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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