Emina Alickovic

Scientist, PhD 


By tracking the position of the eyes with small cameras, we can use the direction of the eyes to enhance sound of the sound source a person is looking at.
The latest hearing aids allow some form of steering audio with the head by using beamformers. However, those beamformers remain broad and do not usually offer much help in the cocktail party problem. These studies focus on how to control ideally accurate narrow beamformers to enhance a particular speaker from a multi-speaker scenario.

Current beamformers are controlled by the head, however, we have observed that the eyes may be faster and more accurate. For that reason we are tracking the position of the eyes using infrared cameras detected towards the user’s face.

Do people with hearing loss wish to have the technology?

In this study, we used research grade eye-tracking and motion capture equipment to determine the user’s eye movement as a proxy of listening intent. We amplified the sound of the speaker who the users were looking at to represent an ideal narrow beamforming system, a golden standard for future comparisons. We recorded seven users’ reactions and measured benefit by means of interview and a questionnaire.

Our results indicate that when people with hearing impairment use the idealized steering hearing device, there is a significant increase in conversational comprehension, decreased feeling of effort invested in understanding the conversation, and people are less prone to give up compared to when they use their standard hearing device. 

This line of studies be of interest for decision makers that need evidence-based information when evaluating research applications regarding cognitive controlled hearing devices. To read more details about this study click here.

Learn more

  • learnmore-poster


    Eye gaze steering works miracles for hearing aid users in noisy environments, SPiN 2019.
  • learnmore-sounds


    See how Morten reacts to steering sound with his eyes.