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Adaptive Gain Processing With Offending Frequency Suppression for Digital Hearing Aids

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2 Author(s)
Pandey, A. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Univ. of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, USA ; Mathews, V.J.

Digital hearing aids identify acoustic feedback signals and cancel them continuously in a closed loop with an adaptive filter. This scheme facilitates larger hearing aid gain and improves the output sound quality of hearing aids. However, the output sound quality deteriorates as the hearing aid gain is increased. This paper presents two methods to modify the forward path gain in digital hearing aids. The first approach employs a variable, frequency-dependent gain function that is lower at frequencies of the incoming signal where the information is perceptually insignificant. The second method of this paper automatically identifies and suppresses residual acoustical feedback components at frequencies that have the potential to drive the system to instability. The suppressed frequency components are monitored and the suppression is removed when such frequencies no longer pose a threat to drive the hearing aid system into instability. Together, the gain processing methods of this paper provide 8 to 12 dB more hearing aid gain than feedback cancelers with fixed gain functions. Furthermore, experimental results obtained with real world hearing aid gain profiles indicate that the gain processing methods of this paper, individually and combined, provide less distortion in the output sound quality than classical feedback cancelers enabling the use of more comfortable style hearing aids for patients with moderate to profound hearing loss.

Published in:

Audio, Speech, and Language Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:20 ,  Issue: 3 )