A study of hearing aid gain functions based on a nonlinear nonlocal feedforward cochlea model

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A model based sound amplification method is proposed and studied to enhance the ability of the hearing impaired. The model consists of mechanical equations on basilar membrane and outer hair cell (OHC). The OHC is described by a nonlinear nonlocal feedforward model. In addition, a perceptive correction is defined to account for the lumped effect of higher level auditory processing, motivated by the intelligibility function of the hearing impaired. The gain functions are computed by matching the impaired model output to the perceptively weighted normal output, and qualitative agreement is achieved with NAL-NL1 prescription on clean signals. For noisy signals, an adaptive gain strategy is proposed based on the signal to noise ratios (SNR) computed by the model. The adaptive gain functions provide less gain as SNRs decrease so that the intelligibility can be higher with the adaptivity.

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