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In The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

Real-time operation is critical for noise reduction in hearing technology. The essential requirement of real-time operation is causality-that an algorithm does not use future time-frame information and, instead, completes its operation by the end of the current time frame. This requirement is extended currently through the concept of "effectively causal," in which future time-frame information within the brief delay tolerance of the human speech-perception mechanism is used. Effectively causal deep learning was used to separate speech from background noise and improve intelligibility for hearing-impaired listeners. A single-microphone, gated convolutional recurrent network was used to perform complex spectral mapping. By estimating both the real and imaginary parts of the noise-free speech, both the magnitude and phase of the estimated noise-free speech were obtained. The deep neural network was trained using a large set of noises and tested using complex noises not employed during training. Significant algorithm benefit was observed in every condition, which was largest for those with the greatest hearing loss. Allowable delays across different communication settings are reviewed and assessed. The current work demonstrates that effectively causal deep learning can significantly improve intelligibility for one of the largest populations of need in challenging conditions involving untrained background noises.

Healy Eric W, Tan Ke, Johnson Eric M, Wang DeLiang