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Hearing aid signal not clear? Then switch frequency to FM, finds UCI study

known to be notoriously difficult for cochlear-implant users: speech recognition with a competing voice, speaker recognition and Mandarin-tone recognition. The researchers tested the amplitude modulation (AM) and FM from a number of frequency bands in speech sounds and tested the relative contributions to speech recognition in acoustic and electric hearing.

They found that AM works well in quiet environments but less well where background noise is present. In turn, FM enhances speech, tone and speaker recognition when other noise was present, and overall provided a better quality of tonal sound than AM does. Current cochlear implants extract only AM information, limiting significantly their performance under realistic listening situations.

These FM modifications, Zeng adds, can particularly assist Asians and Africans who speak tonal languages, such as Mandarin, in which tonal variations are vitally important. "As with your radio, music sounds better on the FM dial, and enhancing the FM reception on hearing devices can go a long way to helping people listen to and enjoy the beautiful music of their everyday lives in ways they've been unable to do," Zeng said.


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Contact: Tom Vasich
tmvasich@uci.edu
949-824-6455
University of California - Irvine
25-Jan-2005


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