Evaluation of pupillometry as a diagnostic tool for hearing-aid fitting

Mihaela Beatrice Neagu

Speech communication provides a major basis for human interaction and involves understanding speech in adverse listening situations. People with hearing loss commonly report that speech communication in everyday life is effortful, tiring and sometimes stressful. Several studies gathered evidence and demonstrated the relevance of measures of listening effort in audiology. The measurement of the pupil dilation, i.e. pupillometry, can be interpreted as reliable index of listening effort. Within the last years, pupil dilations during speech perception in background noise have been studied extensively and it has been demonstrated that listening effort is affected by speech intelligibility, masker type, hearing impairment and hearing-aid signal processing. So far, the pupillometry method has only been evaluated on a group level, no attempts have been made to evaluate the method in individual listeners.

This PhD project examines whether the pupillometry method can be a suitable diagnostic tool for hearing-aid fitting and for testing the benefit of a hearing aid on an individual listener basis. The transition from a group level towards an individual level of listening effort is not straightforward and provides some challenges since the underlying components affecting the pupillary response are not fully understood yet. To assess the individual pupillary response as an outcome measure of listening effort, the sensitivity and specificity of the pupillary method within a speech-in-noise test will be explored.


Supervisors: Torsten Dau, Abigail Kressner (DTU Health Tech), Dorothea Wendt (Eriksholm Research Centre)

The project is part of PUPILS project in collaboration with DTU Compute
(Per Bækgaard)

To be completed in 2022


DTU orbit


Mihaela-Beatrice Neagu
PhD student
DTU Health Tech