Speech Intelligibility in a Realistic Virtual Sound Environment
* Presenting author
Employing realistic, yet controlled sound scenarios for the evaluation of hearing aid (HA) algorithms in a virtual sound environment (VSE) has the potential to improve HA users’ real-world listening experience and performance. In the present study, so-called critical sound scenarios (CSS) were defined as acoustic scenes that HA users experience as important, difficult and common, and selected through ecological momentary assessment (EMA), inspired by results from recent studies. The scenarios were acquired in real scenes using a spherical microphone array, and reproduced in an acoustically valid way inside the VSE. A speech intelligibility task using the Danish Hearing In Noise Test (HINT) was implemented in one of the scenes to measure speech reception thresholds (SRT) for normal-hearing and hearing-impaired subjects. SRTs obtained for the realistic VSE background noise were found to be higher than corresponding ones reported in headphone-based studies, potentially as a result of the increased listening effort required to separate target speech from the more realistic interfering speech background.