Patent Number: 6,167,138

Title: Spatialization for hearing evaluation

Abstract: A hearing evaluation and hearing aid fitting system provides a fully immersive three-dimensional acoustic environment to evaluate unaided, simulated aided, and aided hearing function of an individual. Digital filtering of signal sources representing speech and other sound stimuli according to selected models and signal processing parameters, such as audio sources, spatializing coordinates, acoustic boundaries, hearing aid simulations, and individualized transfer functions synthesizes a simulated acoustic condition for presentation to an individual for objective and subjective hearing evaluation. An intra-canal prosthesis incorporating a microphone probe is positioned in the ear canal to measure in-the-ear-canal responses at a common reference point near the tympanum during unaided, simulated aided, and aided hearing evaluation to provide measurements that directly correlate across all phases of hearing assessment during hearing aid fitting. A virtual electroacoustic audiometer computes hearing aid prescription based on unaided audiometric evaluation results and various reference measurements including in-the-ear canal responses to acoustic stimuli. The system synthesizes signals reflecting the combination of an audio signal model, spatialization model, and acoustic boundary model, as well as hearing aid model in the case of stimulated aided condition. Once an optimal simulated hearing aid model is selected, based on a number of criteria including optimal performance, sound, restoration, listening preference, type, size, controls, and life-style factors, a detailed hearing aid specification is derived and provided to the dispenser/manufacturer for assembly. A modular hearing aid according to the results of such hearing assessment is also provided that includes highly configurable electroacoustic and electronic signal processing elements.

Inventors: Shennib; Adnan (Fremont, CA)

Assignee: Decibel Instruments, Inc.

International Classification: A61B 5/12 (20060101); H04R 29/00 (20060101); H04R 25/00 (20060101); H04R 005/00 (); H04R 029/00 ()

Expiration Date: 12/26/2017