TitleOptimizing Hearing Aids for Music Listening
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsWessel, D, Fitz, K, Battenberg, E, Schmeder, A, Edwards, B
Conference Name19th International Congress on Acoustics
Date Published02/09/2007
Conference LocationMadrid, Spain

Modern digital hearing aid technology that is heavily optimized for speech intelligibility often makesmusic unlistenable, so that hearing aid wearers often prefer to remove their hearing aids whenlistening to music. The effects of hearing aid processing on musical signals, and on the perceptionof music have received very little attention. There is no standard test of music perception, andto make the problem more difficult, different musical styles thrive in strikingly different acousticalenvironments. There have been some studies on the effect of reduced bandwidth on the perceivedquality of music, but no systematic evaluation of the effects of dynamic range compression, themost ubiquitous form of gain compensation in digital hearing aids.In this report we present a novel approach to hearing aid fitting applied to both individual differencesin hearing impairment and differences among musical styles. The method uses a subjectivespace approach to reduce the dimensionality of the fitting problem and a non-linear regressiontechnology to interpolate among hearing aid parameter settings. This listener-driven method providesnot only a technique for optimal aid fitting, but also information on individual differences andthe effects of gain compensation on different musical styles.