Music is an important acoustic signal and being impeded in its perception has considerable quality of life implications. However, the precise effects of sensorineural hearing loss on music perception are not fully understood. Therefore, this research aims at simulating them.
Musical timbre is often described as “the wastepaper category” of musical parameters, accounting for any perceptual sensation that can not be directly linked either to a sound's duration, pitch or loudness. Yet, timbre itself is an essential aspect of music perception and this gap in knowledge forms a serious impediment to its modelling. Also, a truly immersive simulation can not be achieved unless the hearing loss simulator operates with a delay below 30 ms while still taking the nonlinear properties of the auditory system into account. This is difficult to achieve with current algorithmic approaches.
An expert listener panel is assembled to conduct a series of tests on the auditory mechanisms most likely to account for degraded music perception in the hearing impaired. The results are used to implement a simulator that is suitable for raising public awareness as well as for improving our understanding of the effects of sensorineural hearing loss.