Hearing clearly depends not only on the volume of sound, but also on our brains choosing what sound we pay attention to and understanding it.
For example, if you are listening to just one person in a group of people who are all talking, your brain does a really good job of focusing on that one person and rejecting the other voices in the background. Most of us can do this easily, but as we age it gets harder.
Often called the “Cocktail Party Problem”, this is not just about trying to hear someone talking in a noisy bar or restaurant; it causes problems in a wide range of normal life situations.
Let’s explain with some science. The volume of speech compared to background noise is the Speech to Noise Ratio (SNR). Environments with poor SNR significantly affect speech intelligibility – so although we can hear the sounds, it’s hard to understand the speech. Some studies have found that the SNR required for understanding just half of sentences heard is about 1.6 dB for those with hearing impairments. Over 80% of 41 – 64 year-olds suffer from this problem…
To help, we need solutions that boost the sound of speech in noise in such a way that the speech becomes more intelligible. AudioTelligence’s aiso™ for Hearing analyses the signal path provided by the microphones to locate all the sound sources within an environment. The sources are separated into different channels and the algorithm selects the channel that most closely corresponds to the source of interest.