Improvement of Hearing-Aid Performance using Head-Related Transfer Functions (HRTFs)

Raised of $5,702 Goal
Ended on 2/03/16
Campaign Ended
  • $164
  • 3%
  • Finished
    on 2/03/16

About This Project

Accurate reproduction of acoustic environments is important in hearing-aid research. Researchers have created special digital filters to achieve 3D localization for hearing-aids. However, there are two major issues that are not addressed using these filters: 1) hearing aids do not address the “cocktail party effect” problem, and 2) these filters are anatomically dependent and, hence, are known to cause localization errors. It is proposed to investigate techniques to address these problems.

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What is the context of this research?

The accurate reproduction of acoustic real-world environments is becoming of increasing importance in hearing device research and development. Researchers have measured extensive sets of special digital filters called generic HRTFs with pairs of Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids using KEMAR mannequins. However, there are two major issues that are not addressed using these generic HRTFs: 1) BTE hearing aids do not address the “cocktail party effect” problem (i.e., our ability to focus our attention on a particular stimulus while filtering out a range of other stimuli), and 2) generic HRTFs are anatomically dependent and, hence, are known to cause localization errors.

What is the significance of this project?

If successful, this research will improve BTE hearing-aid performance which will effect a significant portion of the population. According to the NIH, an estimated 17% of American adults report having some form of hearing loss and nearly half of adults ages 75 years and older have hearing loss. Additionally, the work resulting from this project will serve as the basis for other grant submissions.

What are the goals of the project?

It is proposed to start investigating techniques to help BTE hearing-aid users with the “cocktail party effect” problem. Additionally, creation of an interface will be explored which allows the BTE hearing aid user to control source levels and positioning of the sound sources. Lastly, a customizable HRTF model will be investigated that, if successful, will generate HRTFs that are closely related to the anatomical features of the user which is expected to reduce localization errors significantly.


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The student support is $11.00/hour, for 20 hours per week, during the 16 week long spring semester and during the 8 week long summer semester.

Meet the Team

Kenneth John Faller II
Kenneth John Faller II
Assistant Professor


California State University, Fullerton
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Kenneth John Faller II

I received a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Florida International University (FIU) in 2009. From 2009 to 2011, I was a NASA postdoctoral research fellow. I joined the faculty of the Computer Engineering program at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) in 2011. At CSUF, I have taught several engineering courses ranging from the freshman level to the graduate level. My teaching interests are in the areas of computer architecture, embedded systems, mixed-signal design, hardware security, and DSP. The courses I have taught since joining CSUF include microcontrollers, embedded processor interfacing, current topics: wearable computers, hardware security, computer organization and design, advanced computer architecture, and real-time audio processing. I am also the co-advisor of the IEEE Computer Society (CS) chapter at CSUF. My research interest include Digital Signal Processing (DSP), image processing, deception detection, embedded systems, hardware security, and computer architecture.

Project Backers

  • 7Backers
  • 3%Funded
  • $164Total Donations
  • $23.43Average Donation
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