A binaural grouping model for predicting speech intelligibility in multitalker environments
Colburn, H. Steven
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Citation (published version)Jing Mi, H Steven Colburn. "A Binaural Grouping Model for Predicting Speech Intelligibility in Multitalker Environments.." Trends Hear, v. 20
Spatially separating speech maskers from target speech often leads to a large intelligibility improvement. Modeling this phenomenon has long been of interest to binaural-hearing researchers for uncovering brain mechanisms and for improving signal-processing algorithms in hearing-assistive devices. Much of the previous binaural modeling work focused on the unmasking enabled by binaural cues at the periphery, and little quantitative modeling has been directed toward the grouping or source-separation benefits of binaural processing. In this article, we propose a binaural model that focuses on grouping, specifically on the selection of time-frequency units that are dominated by signals from the direction of the target. The proposed model uses Equalization-Cancellation (EC) processing with a binary decision rule to estimate a time-frequency binary mask. EC processing is carried out to cancel the target signal and the energy change between the EC input and output is used as a feature that reflects target dominance in each time-frequency unit. The processing in the proposed model requires little computational resources and is straightforward to implement. In combination with the Coherence-based Speech Intelligibility Index, the model is applied to predict the speech intelligibility data measured by Marrone et al. The predicted speech reception threshold matches the pattern of the measured data well, even though the predicted intelligibility improvements relative to the colocated condition are larger than some of the measured data, which may reflect the lack of internal noise in this initial version of the model.
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