Distortion in hearing aids degrades the sound quality and reduces user satisfaction with these devices. In this paper, a distortion measure derived from the hearing aid response to natural speech stimuli is presented. The hearing aid response was modeled using a time-varying ARMA system whose coefficents were estimated using the Multiple Model Least Squares (MMLS) algorithm. The amouth of distortion in the hearing aid was quantified using an "auditory distance" parameter, which computes the distance between the hearing aid response and the model output. It is shown that the auditory parameter correlates better with perceptual judgements of hearing aid sound quality, both by normal and hearing impaired listeners, than the conventional hearing aid distortion measures.
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