Finally, wearers of hearing aids can pick out a voice in a crowded roomThe human auditory system can naturally pick out a voice in a crowded room, but creating a hearing aid that mimics that ability has stumped signal processing specialists, artificial intelligence experts, and audiologists for decades. British cognitive scientist Colin Cherry first dubbed this the "cocktail party problem" in 1953.More than six decades later, less than 25 percent of people who need a hearing aid actually use one. The greatest frustration among potential users is that a hearing aid cannot distinguish between, for example, a voice and the sound of a passing car if those sounds occur at the same time. The device cranks up the volume on both, creating an incoherent din.It's time we solve this problem. To produce a better experience for hearing aid wearers, my lab at Ohio State University, in Columbus, recently applied machine learning based on deep neural networks to the task of segregating sounds. We have tested multiple versions of a digital filter that not only amplifies sound but can also isolate speech from background noise and automatically adjust the volumes of each separately.We believe this approach can ultimately restore a hearing-impaired person's comprehension to match--or even exceed--that of someone with normal hearing. In fact, one of our early models boosted, from 10 to 90 percent, the ability of some subjects to understand spoken words obscured by noise. Because it's not necessary for listeners to understand every word in a phrase to gather its meaning, this improvement frequently meant the difference between comprehending a sentence or not.
but can also isolate speech from background noise and automatically adjust the volumes of each separately.
Quotebut can also isolate speech from background noise and automatically adjust the volumes of each separately. What if the background noise is humans talking?
I remain skeptical until demonstrated to my personal satisfaction.
Yes, me too, my audio discrimination is terrible, but if they charge hundreds for it or more like they do with many hearing aids they can forget it.