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An Integrated Approach for Noise Reduction and Dynamic Range Compression in Hearing Aids

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An Integrated Approach for Noise Reduction and Dynamic Range Compression in Hearing Aids AN INTEGRATED APPROACH FOR NOISE REDUCTION AND DYNAMIC RANGE COMPRESSION IN HEARING AIDS Kim Ngo1, Simon Doclo1,2, Ann Spriet1,3, Marc Moonen1, Jan Wouters3 and Søren Holdt Jensen4 1Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Department of Electrical Engineering, ESAT-SCD Kasteelpark Arenberg 10, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium email: [email protected] 3Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Department of Neurosciences, ExpORL, O. & N2 Herestraat 49/721, 3000 Leuven, Belgium email: [email protected] 2NXP Semiconductors Corporate I&T-Research, Sound and Systems Group Interleuvenlaan 80, 3001 Leuven, Belgium email: [email protected] 4Aalborg University Department of Electronic Systems, MISP Niels Jernes Vej 12 A6-3, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark email: [email protected] ABSTRACT Hearing aids typically use a serial concatenation of Noise Reduc- tion (NR) and Dynamic Range Compression (DRC). However, the DRC in such a concatenation negatively affects the performance of the NR stage: the residual noise after NR is amplified by the DRC, resulting in a signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) degradation. In this pa- per, we present an integrated solution for NR and DRC. The solution is based on an estimate of the amount of speech and noise in each time segment. In case the speech is dominant, the NR is less active and it is desirable to have as much DRC as possible, whereas in a noise dominant segment the NR is more active and the idea is not to compromise this operation by applying DRC. Experimental results confirmed that a serial concatenation of NR and DRC degrades the SNR improvement, and that the proposed solution offers a better SNR improvement compared to a serial concatenation. 1. INTRODUCTION Reduced audibility and reduced dynamic range between threshold and discomfort level are some of the problems that people with a sensorineural hearing loss are dealing with. Furthermore, back- ground noise (multiple speakers, t

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