Creating realistic audio-visual environments for hearing research

Complex environments with many sound sources and reverberation present a challenging communication situation, but one that the healthy auditory system copes with exceptionally well. Individuals with hearing impairment, on the other hand, often find it very difficult to communicate under such conditions. One of the main challenges faced by hearing instrument manufacturers is improving speech intelligibility and users’ awareness of their surroundings in such dynamic, complex situations.

This project focuses on bringing realistic audio and audio-visual scenes into the laboratory using spatial audio and virtual reality techniques in DTU’s newly built Audio-Visual Immersion Lab (AVIL). Spatial sound reproduction methods are evaluated and improved in order to create accurate acoustic scenes, in which both listeners and technical devices, such as hearing instruments, can be tested. New psychophysical tasks will also need to be developed to assess listener abilities in these virtual “cocktail-party” scenarios.

Conducting experiments in more realistic conditions is expected to provide new insights into how humans cope with complex environments in general, and more specifically into the effects of hearing impairment, aided hearing, as well as audio-visual interactions on these abilities.

DTU Orbit



Marton Marschall
Senior Officer
DTU Health Tech