Dr. Matthias Latzel, Stäfa (Switzerland)
Video 2 2018
“Reducing listening effort by using binaural features in hearing aids: An EEG study – the next steps”
Measuring listening effort is particularly suitable for evaluating the effectiveness of hearing device algorithms in environments where, due to almost positive SNR conditions, speech intelligibility is not an appropriate measurement parameter for differentiation. In a previous study, analysis of electroencephalograms (EEGs) has been shown to measure listening effort by quantifying the cognitive load. To confirm this observation, the same methodology was applied to re-evaluate the influence of modern hearing aid algorithms on listening effort.
Twenty subjects were fitted with hearing devices where either a binaural beamformer, an omnidirectional microphone, or an alternative competitive approach was activated. While performing a memory task, activity in the EEG alpha band 8 to 12 Hz was recorded. After completing the test, participants were asked to subjectively rate listening effort.
The results show a reduction in alpha-band activity as well as in subjective listening effort when a binaural beamformer is active. This confirms EEG measurement to be an appropriate method of measuring listening effort, and shows that a binaural beamformer effectively reduces listening effort.