Approximately 10 – 14% of the general population (USA & Northern Europe) suffer from a noticeable degree of hearing loss and would benefit from some form of hearing assistance or deaf aid. However, many assistive listening systems do not provide the benefit that they should, as they are often let down by their poor acoustic performance. The paper investigates the acoustic and speech intelligibility requirements for ALS performance and examines a number of microphone pick-up scenarios in terms of their potential intelligibility and sound quality performance. The results of testing carried out in a number of rooms and venues are presented, mainly in terms of the resultant Speech Transmission Index (STI) measurements. The paper concludes by providing a number of recommendations and “rules of thumb” for successful microphone placement and testing.
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