Initial development of a temporal-envelope-preserving nonlinear hearing aid prescription using a genetic algorithm

Andrew T. Sabin, Pamela E. Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Most hearing aid prescriptions focus on the optimization of a metric derived from the long-term average spectrum of speech, and do not consider how the prescribed values might distort the temporal envelope shape. A growing body of evidence suggests that such distortions can lead to systematic errors in speech perception, and therefore hearing aid prescriptions might benefit by including preservation of the temporal envelope shape in their rationale. To begin to explore this possibility, we designed a genetic algorithm (GA) to find the multiband compression settings that preserve the shape of the original temporal envelope while placing that envelope in the listener's audiometric dynamic range. The resulting prescription had a low compression threshold, short attack and release times, and a combination of compression ratio and gain that placed the output signal within the listener's audiometric dynamic range. Initial behavioral tests of individuals with impaired hearing revealed no difference in speech-in-noise perception between the GA and the NAL-NL2 prescription. However, gap detection performance was superior with the GA in comparison to NAL-NL2. Overall, this work is a proof of concept that consideration of temporal envelope distortions can be incorporated into hearing aid prescriptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-107
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Amplification
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • compression
  • genetic algorithms
  • optimization
  • temporal processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Speech and Hearing


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