Niels Henrik Pontoppidan

Research Area Manager/ Research Engineer

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To investigate whether Better-Ear Effects (BEEs) are obliterated by reflected sound, we measured them under anechoic and reverberant conditions. We also examined the effect of hearing-aid microphone location. Our results show that noteworthy BEEs may be available in the reverberant listening situations experienced by typical hearing-aid users.

BEEs, hearing-aid microphone location, and room reverberation

We conducted a student project to test the hypothesis that BEEs are less affected by reverberation than previously assumed. Using an acoustic manikin, we measured BEEs in an anechoic chamber and an auditorium (T60 ≈ 0.7 secs) for various target-masker constellations and two microphone locations: above the outer ear (BTE) and at the ear canal entrance (CIC).


Concerning the effect of microphone location, our results showed that the CIC position generally led to more favourable high-frequency Signal-to-Noise Ratios (SNR) when the target was in front and the masker to the side or the rear of the manikin. Concerning the effect of room reverberation, our results confirmed that BEEs decrease as reverberation increases. Nevertheless, they also showed that significant BEEs can remain, even under “extreme” reverberant conditions.

Further reading

Neher T, Breitsprecher C, Laugesen S (2009). The influence of hearing-aid microphone location and room reverberation on better-ear effects. In: Buchholz J, Dalsgaard JC, Dau T, Poulsen T (Eds.) Binaural Processing and Spatial Hearing. Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Audiological and Auditory Research, ISAAR, p. 505-512.

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    The influence of hearing aid microphone location and room reverberation on better-ear effects

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    Study Partners

    This study was the BSc thesis work of Claudia Breitsprecher, which was carried out in collaboration with the Jade Hochschule, Institute of Hearing Science and Audiology, Oldenburg, Germany.