Listeners with hearing problems find noisy rooms, such as many classrooms, burdensome because speech is hard to understand in rooms with multiple interfering sound sources. Existing methods of extracting or suppressing individual sounds generally require that those sounds be motionless—that is, that the sound source remains stationary. We are developing a hearing aid-compatible system capable of extracting or suppressing the sound of moving sources.
This system would use multiple microphones in a classroom or other space where people gather. It would isolate individual sound sources such as speech, removing unwanted noise and separating sounds of interest even in situations in which sound sources moved in arbitrary ways. Then it would deliver enhanced speech or other signals to the ears of multiple listeners in the room, personalized to each listener, via their cellphones and preferred listening devices.