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Subjective Sound Quality Evaluation of an Acoustically Transparent Hearing Device

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In this paper we evaluate the performance of a real-time hearing device prototype that aims at achieving acoustically transparent sound presentation. Acoustic transparency refers to the perceptual equivalence of the sound at the aided ear drum, i.e., with the hearing device inserted and processing on, and the open ear drum, i.e., without the hearing device inserted. The considered hearing device combines a custom earpiece with multiple microphones and signal processing algorithms for robust feedback suppression and sound pressure equalization. We evaluate the perceived overall sound quality of this prototype using dummy head recordings in different acoustic conditions using a multi-stimulus with hidden reference and anchor-like framework with N = 15 normal-hearing subjects. Results show that the overall sound quality can be signi?cantly improved for all conditions by using sound pressure equalization, where the processing delay of the device is a crucial limiting factor of the sound quality.

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