Many people enjoy media. The popularity of binge viewing, audio books, web radio, online videos, etc. inspires us. Devices are much more affordable and easy to use. Yet when a person has a hearing loss, it can be difficult to enjoy the same media productions. Have you ever noticed that it can be difficult to hear and understand speech when music or other sounds occur at the same time? When a person has a hearing loss, it can become even more difficult to understand speech in the presence of other sounds.
Although some media might have closed captioning, some people might enjoy media if the music or background sounds were not as loud and if the speaker voice was a bit louder.
Wouldn’t it be great if we the users could adjust the volumes of the background music and the voice independently to meet personal needs?
Many post production tools can achieve a number of edits to deal with these issues, for example, ducking the music under a narrator’s voice. But once a media product is released, it might be very challenging for an individual to personalize settings to improve speaker intelligibility or media enjoyment.
The proliferation of media in every aspect of our lives makes this a critical issue. Media is used in education, entertainment, medicine, at our jobs, in business, and other important contexts. Accessibility is crucial.
Some sounds can even behave as maskers to the sounds a person would like to hear. When a person has a hearing loss, the acoustic environment becomes even more sensitive to masking sounds and a variety of issues of volume.
Ref: Painter, T., Spanias, A., Perceptual Coding of Digital Audio.
Masking occurs when one sound becomes inaudible because of the presence of another sound. When two or more sounds are presented at the same time, a frequency-domain phenomenon occurs that makes hearing the sound much more difficult. It can be possible to predict when sounds will become more difficult to hear. For example, when music is loud when compared with speech. Or when a person has a hearing loss in high frequencies and relies on being able to listen to low frequencies without other masking events.
Although traditional hearing aids offer options to deal with speech, or music, few solutions deal well with a blended environment. This is an ideal opportunity for a SensoSmart solution.
To address some of these issues, SensoSmart team members have identified an approach. Using principles of Karaoke – separating the stereo components from the mono components of audio media – SensoSmart Closed Caption 23 Personal Ducking allows re-mixing of the components for personalized listening clarity.
We envision an opportunity to create a repository for media that can be adjusted to suit personal hearing needs. We recognize an opportunity to create tools that will enable media producers to create content that is more accessible to people with hearing loss.
SensoSmart will make the world safe for binge media.
How cool is that!