Niels Henrik Pontoppidan

Research Area Manager

> Learn more

Most complex test methods for hearing-aid evaluation focus on speech recognition or localisation of simple stimuli. To provide an alternative outcome measure, we developed a new paradigm that requires a listener to localise and identify multiple natural sounds.

Designing a new spatial test paradigm

The purpose of this student project was to address the need for alternative complex hearing-aid outcome measures. Instead of focusing on speech recognition or localisation of simple stimuli, we decided to create spatially complex auditory scenes consisting of multiple natural sounds. In particular, five scenes were created, all of which were based on six sounds sharing a common theme.

For example, a ‘zoo’ scene was created based on sounds from an elephant, a chimpanzee, a rattlesnake, a parrot, and a lion. The scenes were presented via multiple loudspeakers located in the frontal horizontal plane. The locations of the loudspeakers were displayed on a graphical user interface together with symbols of the sounds being presented. The number of concurrent sounds varied between three and five. The listeners had to identify the locations and identities of all presented sounds.

Pilot validation

Using nine normal-hearing (NH) and six hearing-impaired (HI) listeners, a pilot validation experiment was carried out. The HI listeners were tested with their own hearing aids. As expected, the HI group’s performance was generally poorer than that of the NH group, and for both groups localisation and identification accuracy decreased as the number of concurrent sounds increased. Furthermore, there were indications that, with increasing task complexity, the HI listeners focused on localising a few sounds, whereas the NH listeners tried to both localise and identify all sounds. Altogether, these results provide useful input for developing this paradigm further.

Learn more

  • learnmore-poster


    Simultaneous localisation and identification of environmental sounds

  • studypartners_transparent

    Study Partners

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