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Personalization in Object-based Audio for Accessibility: A Review of Advancements for Hearing Impaired Listeners

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Hearing loss is widespread and significantly impacts an individual’s ability to engage with broadcast media. Access for people with impaired hearing can be improved through new object-based audio personalization methods. Utilizing the literature on hearing loss and intelligibility, this paper develops three dimensions that have the potential to improve intelligibility: spatial separation, speech-to-noise ratio, and redundancy. These can be personalized, individually or concurrently, using object-based audio. A systematic review of all work in object-based audio personalization is then undertaken. These dimensions are utilized to evaluate each project’s approach to personalization, identifying successful approaches, commercial challenges, and the next steps required to ensure continuing improvements to broadcast audio for hard-of-hearing individuals. Although no single solution will address all problems faced by individuals with hearing impairments when accessing broadcast audio, several approaches covered in this review show promise.

JAES Volume 67 Issue 7/8 pp. 584-597; July 2019
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AES - Audio Engineering Society