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Adaptive Equalization of Acoustic Transparency in an Augmented-Reality Headset

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Headphones are commonly used in noisy environments. Insert headphones attenuate and color the spectra of ambient sounds and thus alter the auditory perception. When the ambient sounds are desirable, a hear-through function can be used to reproduce them naturally while wearing headphones, i.e. to make the headphones acoustically transparent. A novel adaptive hear-through algorithm is proposed, which estimates the isolation and fine-tunes the hear-though equalization for optimal acoustic transparency. Measurements on a prototype headset and simulations show that the proposed algorithm produces acoustic transparency with default settings when the fit is good, and that the adaptation improves the transparency by up to 6 dB when the headset is poorly fitted. Volume control with additional shelving filter adjustments reduces the comb-filtering effect at frequencies below 1 kHz. The proposed algorithm is a suitable premise for augmented reality audio applications and offers improved behavior when compared to fixed hear-through systems.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society