USING MACHINE LEARNING TO MITIGATE THE EFFECTS OF REVERBERATION AND NOISE IN COCHLEAR IMPLANTS.
In listening environments with room reverberation and background noise, cochlear implant (CI) users experience substantial difficulties in understanding speech. Because everyday environments have different combinations of reverberation and noise, there is a need to develop algorithms that can mitigate both effects to improve speech intelligibility. Desmond et al. (2014) developed a machine learning approach to mitigate the adverse effects of late reverberant reflections of speech signals by using a classifier to detect and remove affected segments in CI pulse trains. This study aimed to investigate the robustness of the reverberation mitigation algorithm in environments with both reverberation and noise. Sentence recognition tests were conducted in normal hearing listeners using vocoded speech with unmitigated and mitigated reverberant-only or noisy reverberant speech signals, across different reverberation times and noise types. Improvements in speech intelligibility were observed in mitigated reverberant-only conditions. However, mixed results were obtained in the mitigated noisy reverberant conditions as a reduction in speech intelligibility was observed for noise types whose spectra were similar to that of anechoic speech. Based on these results, the focus of future work is to develop a context-dependent approach that activates different mitigation strategies for different acoustic environments.
Chu, KM; Throckmorton, CS; Collins, LM; Mainsah, BO
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