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Microphone Array Optimization for a Hearing Restoration Headset

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Subjects wearing communications or hearing protection headsets lose the ability to localize sound accurately. Here we describe a hearing restoration headset designed to restore a user’s natural hearing by processing signals from an array of microphones using a filter-and-sum technique and presenting the result to the user via the headset’s speakers. The filters are designed using a phase compensation technique for mapping the microphone array manifolds (or directional transfer functions) onto the target HRTFs. To optimize the performance of the system, a 3-D numerical model of a KEMAR mannequin with headset was built and verified experimentally up to 12 KHz. The numerical model was used to optimize a three microphone array that demonstrated low reconstruction error up to 12 KHz.

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