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Accessible Object-Based Audio Using Hierarchical Narrative Importance Metadata

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Object-based audio has great capacity for production and delivery of adaptive and personalizable content. This can be used to improve the accessibility of complex content for listeners with hearing impairments. An adaptive object-based audio system was used to make mix changes enabling listeners to balance narrative comprehension against immersion using a single dial. Performance was evaluated by focus groups of 12 hearing impaired participants who gave primarily positive feedback. An experienced sound designer also evaluated the function of the control and process for authoring the necessary metadata establishing that the control facilitated a clearer narrative while maintaining mix quality. In future work the algorithm, production tools, and interface will be refined based on the feedback received.

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