Super-directional Beamformer

A family of directional microphone algorithms has been developed by the HEARing CRC that enable users to engage in one-to-one communication in high levels of background noise known as super-directional beamformers.

The suite of super-directional beamformer algorithms work by reducing unwanted background noise through the combined outputs of two microphones located on each side of the head to create a ‘super‐directional’ output.

In doing so, they create an invisible beam in the direction the hearing-aid wearer is facing that reduces background noise levels on the side. This allows the wearer to steer the beam either to the left or the right of the head depending on the direction where better hearing is required.

HEARworks believes this technology has the potential to dramatically improve current hearing device technologies such as standard hearing aids that work fine in quiet environments but their performance diminishes when listeners try to  focus in on conversations with high levels of background noise common in many social situations, such as listening to a conversation in a noisy cafe.

Several super-directional beamformer algorithms are currently being evaluated at The University of Melbourne and the National Acoustic Laboratories in a range of realistic acoustic settings with a select group of people who wear hearing aids and/or cochlear implants so their performance can fine tuned in environments with varying amounts of noise coming from different locations.

HEARworks, through the HEARing CRC, is keen to hear from from third parties interested in licensing the super-directional beamformer technology.

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