Adaptations of CNOSSOS-EU to third octave bands

CNOSSOS-EU is a new European calculation method for noise levels from road traffic, railway traffic and industry sources. The method is described in the EU Directive 2015/996. Its objective is to ensure that a uniform method is used throughout Europe to calculate noise levels for area planning and action plans to protect the populations’ health from excessive noise levels.

As CNOSSOS-EU deviates from the current noise calculation methods in Norway, this must be amended to fit current Norwegian policies. On behalf of the Norwegian Environment Agency (Miljødirektoratet) SINTEF has written a report that describes how 1/3 octave resolution can be introduced in CNOSSOS-EU which CNOSSOS-EU in its current state does not support. The report can be found here:

SINTEF report 2021-00435 Adaptations of Cnossos from octave bands to third octave bands

If you have any comments, feel free to reach out: acousticsresearchcentre@gmail.com

MobileEars: An app-based hearing aid

A lot of people could use some help with their hearing, but getting a hearing aid has traditionally been a big, time-consuming, and expensive step. As we reported earlier, the Oslo-based company Listen have therefore been developing an app in collaboration with SINTEF that turns your iPhone into a hearing aid.

Their first app, MobileEars, was released this week, and is now available for free download from the App Store. You can see a promotional video for the app below the break.

Read more…MobileEars: An app-based hearing aid

Speech Enhancement with Deep Learning

Using deep learning to improve the intelligibility of noise-corrupted speech signals

Speech is key to our ability to communicate. We already use recorded speech to communicate remotely with other humans and we will get more and more used to machines that simply ‘listen’ to us. However, we want our phones, laptops, hearing aids, voice controlled and/or Internet of Things (IoT) devices to work in every environment — the majority of environments being noisy.

This creates the need for speech enhancement techniques that remove noise from recorded speech signals. Yet, as of today, there are no noise-filtering strategies that significantly help people understand single-channel noisy speech, and even state-of-the-art voice assistants fail miserably in noisy environments. Some recent publications on speech enhancement show that deep learning, a machine learning subfield based on deep neural networks (DNNs), will become a game-changer in the field of speech enhancement. See for example reference [1] below.

In this blog post we will go through a relatively simple implementation of Deep Learning to speech enhancement. Scroll down to the end of this post if you just want to know what the resulting enhanced samples can sound like.

Read more…Speech Enhancement with Deep Learning

Project: I Hear You! A new hearing service in Tanzania

Sharleen is an African girl, 9 years old, from a family of farmers. She is quite smart, but no longer goes to school.

Why? 

Sharleen has a hearing impairment, and couldn’t understand what the teacher was saying. Her father thought he needed her at home to look after the goats. Unfortunately, Sharleen is just one among many children lacking help.

WHO has estimated that over 5% of the world population – 360 million people – has a hearing impairment (328 million adult and 32 million children), and the majority of children with hearing impairment live in low-income countries. In contrast, less than 2% of the hearing aids produced in 2005 went to low income countries.

Traditional hearing devices are advanced equipment; expensive, fragile and not developed for the Third World. Specialised personnel and complex infrastructure in the individual fitting process is needed, reducing the usefulness of such complex hearing aids to a minimum in low-income countries, where trained people and specialists are scarce.

With funding from Norwegian Research Council, SINTEF’s project “I Hear You”, starting early 2017, aims to help children like Sharleen by ensuring access to education for the hearing impaired.

Read more…Project: I Hear You! A new hearing service in Tanzania

Video: Take care of your hearing!

Noise-induced hearing loss is a result of exposure to loud sounds over a long time, or to one extremely loud impulse. In addition to permanent loss of hearing, tinnitus is a common symptom. While this is the most common permanent injury in the world, it is also preventable through hearing protection equipment and safe working practices.

We have acted as scientific consultants for a new five-minute information video from Honeywell on this topic. You can see the entire video here!