Digital Signal Processing and System Theory

Talk Torsten Dau

Human Auditory Signal Processing in Complex Acoustic Environments

Date: 21.01.2013, 17:15 h - 18:00 h
Room: Aquarium

Prof. Dr. Torsten Dau
Technical University of Denmark, Department of Electrical Engineering
Centre for Applied Hearing Research, Copenhagen, Denmark


In everyday life, the speech we listen to is often mixed with many other sound sources as well as reverberation. In such situations, people with normal hearing are able to almost effortlessly segregate a single voice out of the background – a skill commonly known as the 'cocktail party effect'. In contrast, hearing-impaired people have great difficulty understanding speech when more than one person is talking, even when reduced audibility has been fully compensated for by a hearing aid. As with the hearing impaired, the performance of automatic speech recognition systems deteriorates dramatically with additional sound sources. The reasons for these difficulties are not well understood. This presentation highlights recent concepts of the monaural and binaural signal processing strategies employed by the normal as well as impaired auditory system. The aim is to develop a computational auditory signal-processing model, capable of describing the transformation from the acoustical input signal into its "internal" (neural) representations. Several stages of processing, including cochlear, midbrain and central stages, are considered to be important for a robust signal representation, and a deficiency in any of these processing stages is likely to result in a deterioration of the entire system’s performance. A state-of-the-art model of auditory signal processing would be of major practical significance for technical applications, in digital hearing aids, cochlear implants, speech and audio coding, and automatic speech recognition.