PhD degree successfully defended by Antoine Favre-Félix

Wednesday 04 Mar 20


Torsten Dau
Head of Sections, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 39 77

On Tuesday February 25, Antoine Favre-Félix successfully defended his PhD thesis “Controlling a hearing aid with electrically assessed eye gaze”.

Recent approaches in hearing technology have focused on ways to steer hearing aids via cognitive control where it is difficult to follow a conversation in order to focus on the sound in an acoustic scene the user is interested in and attending to. In this thesis, the idea of using the eye gaze to control sound amplification in a multi-talker environment and possibilities to implement such steering in a hearing aid are explored. The potential improvement achieved via the steering of audio using the eyes was evaluated on hearing-impaired subjects over an original set of four studies that investigate aspects related to hearing-aid beamforming steering using measures of eye gaze and head movements.

The first study compared the potential benefits of steering based on eye gaze vs. the more traditional approach of using head orientation. The second study investigated the feasibility of measuring an electrooculogram (EOG) using electrodes in the ear canals. The third study investigated the use of EOG to steer audio in a multitalker situation. Throughout most of those studies, the orientation of the eyes was estimated using electrodes placed in the ear canals of the subjects.

Overall, Antoine’s project demonstrated the potential of using eye gaze steering to improve speech intelligibility, and that the estimation of the orientation of the eyes is achievable using only sensors placed in and around the ear. His work was evaluated as of good scientific quality and all requirements for the PhD degree were fulfilled.

The industrial PhD was a collaboration between Eriksholm Research Centre (part of Oticon) and DTU.

Caption (leftmost):
Examinor Professor Jürgen Tchorz, University of Applied Sciences Lübeck

Supervisor Professor Torsten Dau, DTU
Co-supervisor Doctor Carina Graversen, Eriksholm Research Centre
PhD Antoine Favre-Félix

Associate Professor Ewen MacDonald, DTU 
and Professor Graham Naylor, University of Nottingham, UK
Furthermore, Professor Thomas Lunner (Eriksholm), has been co-supervisor.

Photo: Eva Helena Andersen