At a lively party, the healthy ear can concentrate on a single voice. This ability is also referred to as the cocktail party effect. Many people with a hearing impairment have a problem with this because their hearing aid lacks information about which talker they should follow.
This is where the mEEGaHStim project, which started in April 2017, comes in: A system is being developed for people with hearing impairments that improves speech intelligibility in difficult situations. This will work by automatically emphasising the signal on which the user is concentrating at that precise moment. A combination of electroencephalography (EEG), audio signal processing and electrostimulation of the auditory cortex forms the methodological basis. The main component will be a hearing aid worn on the head that transmits the required information via a brain-computer interface. Hearing aid wearers and CI patients will be able to hear far better and enjoy a greater level of social participation as well as rehabilitation in the process.
By collecting neurophysiological signals and through stimulation of the auditory areas of the brain, a system is being developed within the mEEGaHStim project that offers an innovative solution for problems related to the cocktail party effect.