Søren Laugesen, PhD. Eriksholm Research Centre, Rrtangvej 20, 3070 Snekkersten, Denmark, www.eriksholm.com
Donnerstag, 10. April, 17:00.
Seminarraum Institut für Schallforschung, Wohllebengasse 12-14, 1040 Wien
The spatial acoustic cues provided by the pinna are direction-dependent spectral colourations at high frequencies. These cues are important for up/down and front/back localisation, and possibly also for auditory stream segregation. The localisation benefit has been shown in many studies, in particular, with normal-hearing listeners. For people with hearing loss, however, it can be argued that natural pinna cues are imperceptible due to reduced frequency selectivity in the impaired ear. For hearing-aid users, pinna cues may be eveninaccessible due to limitations in audio bandwidth, or the placement of the hearing aid's microphones above the ear. A few years ago we conducted a study to examine the potential benefit of providing hearing-aid users with pinna cues, by placing the microphone at the entrance of the ear canal and by ensuring sufficient amplification at high frequencies. The results indicated that only a minority achieved consistent benefit from pinna cues. This has recently lead us to the idea of providing hearing-aid users with "enhanced" pinna cues by mimicking an over-sized pinna, which introduces its spectral colouration at lower frequencies because of its larger size. To begin with, two fundamental research questions are addressed: 1) Are enhanced pinna cues easier to detect than normal cues for hearing-impaired listeners? 2) Can elderly hearing-impaired listeners be trained to use enhanced pinna cues? Preliminary results from an experiment addressing the detectability of enhanced pinna cues will be presented. Ideas for addressing the age-related training ability will be put forward for discussion.