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Novel use for Inertial Measurement System in Hearing Devices

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000245338D
Publication Date: 2016-Mar-01
Document File: 6 page(s) / 347K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Future hearing aid systems (e.g., cochlear implants (CI), direct acoustic cochlear implants, etc.) will likely have some inertial measurement system (IMS), either accelerometers, gyroscopes, or a combination thereof, on board for various purposes. Prior art indicates the use of a direct acoustic cochlear implant system for altering the directionality of a hearing device. For example, the system automatically changes directionality in response to a user tilting their head; however, the desired signal is not always clear.

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Title

Novel use for Inertial Measurement System in Hearing Devices

Problem Addressed 

Future hearing aid systems (e.g., cochlear implants (CI), direct acoustic cochlear implants, etc.) will likely have some inertial measurement system (IMS), either accelerometers, gyroscopes, or a combination thereof, on board for various purposes. Prior art indicates the use of a direct acoustic cochlear implant system for altering the directionality of a hearing device. For example, the system automatically changes directionality in response to a user tilting their head; however, the desired signal is not always clear.

Known Solutions/Approaches

Current classifiers use only statistical properties of sound. There are some ideas around of using IMS to measure head rotation, but only for steering the beam.

With current solutions, listening to a single speaker with noise coming from another direction warrants the use of single microphone noise reduction technology.  While in a crowded restaurant with friends, it is probably better for the wearer to use a fixed directional system because the single microphone noise reduction system cannot follow the user’s quick changes. Some systems cannot distinguish between those situations; both will be labelled speech in noise.  Scene classification does not distinguish different classes except 'speech' and 'speech in noise', etc. For example, it cannot identify whether the user is speaking to one or two persons. The latter information may be important to optimize the hearing algorithms.

Novelty Statement

The novel contribution is a method to use IMS to identify the user’s current situation/environment and then facilitate the appropriate directional changes.

Description (Components, Process)

The system uses data tracking on the IMS together with the environmental classifier (SCAN* or a future version of it) to perceive the user’s situation.  The IMS aids the environmental classifier, which enables it to identify the number of speakers addressing the user. It can also identify whether the user is the driver or the passenger in a vehicle (which the classifier can never do). Thus, the novel system improves the decisions of the classifier in order to make optimal changes to the noise reduction.

The system uses the IMS to determine how many times and at what intervals (i.e. how often) a user turns their head. For instance, in a meeting with a number of people, the user turns their head more often than at dinner with one friend who is sitting on the other side of the table. When driving a car, the head movement is also different.

The system looks at the IMS and the (noise) classifier output to determine the scenario ad then take appropriate action.

Example Embodiments

Table: Examples of situations and possible actions

Situ...