Design of a Multimodal Hearing System

Bernd Tessendorf, Matjaz Debevc, Peter Derleth, Manuela Feilner, Franz Gravenhorst, Daniel Roggen, Thomas Stiefmeier, Gerhard Tröster

Hearing instruments (HIs) have become context-aware devices that analyze the acoustic environment in order to automatically adapt sound processing to the user’s current hearing wish. However, in the same acoustic environment an HI user can have different hearing wishes requiring different behaviors from the hearing instrument. In these cases, the audio signal alone contains too little contextual information to determine the user’s hearing wish. Additional modalities to sound can provide the missing information to improve the adaption. In this work, we review additional modalities to sound in HIs and present a prototype of a newly developed wireless multimodal hearing system. The platform takes into account additional sensor modalities such as the user’s body movement and location. We characterize the system regarding runtime, latency and reliability of the wireless connection, and point out possibilities arising from the novel approach.