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An Investigation of Audio Balance for Elderly Listeners Using Loudness as the Main Parameter

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We have been studying the best sound balance for audibility for elderly listeners. We conducted subjective tests on the balance between narration and background sound using professional sound mixing engineers. The comparative loudness of narration to background sound was used to calculate appropriate respective levels for use in documentary programs. Monosyllabic intelligibility tests were then conducted in a noisy environment with both elderly and young people and a condition that complicates hearing for the elderly was identified. Assuming that the recruitment phenomenon and reduced ability to separate narration from background sound cause hearing problems for the elderly, we estimated appropriate loudness levels for them. We also constructed a prototype to assess the best audio balance for the elderly objectively.

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