Assistive Auditory Technology
This research area focuses on investigating the foundations for new technologies enabling both hearing-impaired and normal listeners to hear properly in the "auditory world", especially in challenging everyday listening situations. This research is critical for establishing the basis for further developments in hearing devices and audio systems in order to match the individual needs in the respective communication situations with the hearing support to be provided.
Research will focus, for example, on the designing of hearing devices and acoustical man-machine interfaces capable of excellent source analysis and on the implementation of automatic speech recognition or brain-activity measurements as tools for steering/controlling hearing instruments as well as assistive listening devices. To establish "hearing for all", special research and development projects will aim at specifically supporting the high percentage of persons with an age-related progressive, but not yet medically diagnosed and treated hearing loss. By integrating some of the technologies primarily developed for the field of hearing aids into conventional and widely used communication devices, this group of patients can be engaged in treatment before central modifications due to peripheral dysfunction occur.
- The Task Group (6) "Hearing support for the subclinical population" will specialize on developing hearing support for people with a not yet diagnosed hearing loss. This will help to keep ageing and mildly hearing-impaired people functioning well in communication situations at work and in social life.
- The Task Group (7) "Brain-computer interface for hearing devices" will explore how the signals recorded from the neural system may directly be used to steer a hearing instrument. The vision here is that information derived from ongoing brain activity could be used to automatically optimise and adjust hearing aids/implants such that they optimally process a given auditory environment.