Technology from Cambridge audio software specialist AudioTelligence is set to help solve the ‘cocktail party problem,’ the company announced. AudioTelligence’s new Aiso for Hearing product has been demonstrated to help “improve speech understanding in noisy environments from 5% to a staggering 98% – a significant improvement over existing commercially available devices,” the company says.

Current assistive listening technologies, based on beamforming and noise suppression, provide only a partial solution to the cocktail party problem. When hearing aids are used in noisy environments, they tend to amplify all the sounds – including the background noise – so the user still finds it difficult to follow the conversation, according to the company’s announcement.

Aiso for Hearing adopts a different approach – instead of simply amplifying all sounds from a particular direction, Aiso actually separates the speech signals from the surrounding noise. This allows a user to “hear individual voices clearly, with the technology giving an improvement in the speech-to-noise ratio (SNR) of up to 30 decibels (dBs) – compared with improvements ranging between only 2-4 dBs for the directive beamformers typically found in hearing aids.”

Aiso for Hearing is a software solution which can be integrated into multi-microphone devices – including smartphones and hearing solution products – to help give them enhanced assistive listening capabilities, AudioTelligence says.

AudioTelligence has produced a prototype tabletop device to showcase this technology. Watch this video to see a demonstration and hear the technology in action.

“Our alternative very low latency approach separates voices from noise, improving speech intelligibility, whereas other solutions tend to just amplify sound from a particular direction,” said Ken Roberts, CEO of AudioTelligence. “At the same time, Aiso for Hearing suppresses background noise, minimizing the effort needed to follow a conversation and reducing listening fatigue. And if there are multiple conversations happening around them, the user can pick which one they wish to focus on, eliminating the unwanted speech. 

“Our technology portfolio is the result of more than 12 years of research into the most effective approaches for extracting clean speech signals in complex acoustic scenes. This has enabled us to develop assistive audio technology to solve the cocktail party problem and help 200 million people worldwide to join the conversation.”

Source: AudioTelligence

Image: AudioTelligence