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Reproducing Real-Life Listening Situations in the Laboratory for Testing Hearing Aids

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The main purpose of the current study was to demonstrate how a Virtual Sound Environment (VSE), consisting of 29 loudspeakers, can be used in the development of hearing aids. A listening test was done by recording everyday sound scenes with a spherical microphone array that has 32 microphone capsules. The playback in the VSE was implemented by convolving the recordings with inverse filters, which were derived by directly inverting a matrix of 928 measured transfer functions. While listening to 5 sound scenes, 10 hearing-impaired listeners could switch between hearing aid settings in real time, by interacting with a touch screen in a MUSHRA-like test. The setup proves to be very valuable for ensuring that hearing aid settings work well in real-world situations.

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