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Can We Compare the Sound Quality of Noise Reduction between Hearing Aids? A Method to Level the Ground Between Devices

This paper proposes the application of an equalization filter to remove unwanted differences in frequency response between recordings from different hearing aids. The filter makes it possible to compare the perceptual effects (such as user preference) of a specific signal processing feature (e.g. noise reduction) between different hearing aids, without the dominant influence of differences in their frequency responses. Both an objective quality measure (PESQ) and a listening experiment have shown that the filter was able to ‘level the ground’ between the devices included. The potential application of the inverse filter is to use it on recordings from hearing aids so that we can directly compare the noise reduction between devices. This allows one to determine if users prefer a certain noise reduction over another, which could lead to improved rehabilitation of hearing impaired listeners.

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