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DESCRIPTION JP2009147504

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DESCRIPTION JP2009147504
An object of the present invention is to provide a hearing aid in which an inner ear deaf person
can hear an environmental sound as a sound closer to the original sound. SOLUTION: A
microphone 1 for inputting an environmental sound and converting it into an electric signal, a
hearing aid processing means 2 for performing processing such as a noise suppression
mechanism, and addition having a frequency component of cochlear base plate vibration by the
function of outer hair cells Additional waveform generation means 3 for generating a signal,
adjustment means 4 for adjusting the additional signal, delay means 5 for delaying the output
signal of the hearing aid processing means 2 for a predetermined time, and a composite signal of
the output signal of the delay means 5 and the additional signal , And amplification means 7 for
amplifying the synthesized signal; and an earphone 8 for converting the amplified signal into an
acoustic signal. [Selected figure] Figure 1
hearing aid
[0001]
The present invention relates to a hearing aid that compensates for changes in cochlear
basement membrane movement for degradation of the cochlear sound processing mechanism
associated with inner ear deafness.
[0002]
When a sound is input to the inner ear, the cochlear basement membrane vibrates.
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In normal cochlea, passive cochlear basement membrane oscillation is influenced by outer hair
cells. The influence of this outer hair cell is different from that of the passive cochlear basement
membrane vibration, in the vibration site such as the maximum amplitude site, the vibration
mode and the amplitude. On the other hand, in the case of inner ear deafness, the function of the
outer hair cells is degraded and diminished or eliminated.
[0003]
Conventionally, many hearing aids of the type that mainly amplify sound are provided. In
particular, there are special hearing aids for people with advanced hearing loss that output the
sound generated by the hearing aid itself for the purpose of howling suppression (see, for
example, Patent Document 1). The acoustic feedback digital hearing aid with electrical
compensation described in the patent document 1 comprises a microphone, a pre-amplifier, a
digital compensation circuit, an output amplifier) and a converter. The digital circuit comprises a
noise generator for insertion of noise, a digital filter for adaptation of the feedback signal. The
adaptation is performed using a correlation circuit. The circuit further comprises digital circuitry
that monitors the loop gain and regulates the hearing aid amplification via a digital summing
circuit. The circuit further comprises a digital circuit that performs a statistical evaluation of the
filter coefficients of the correlation circuit and changes the feedback function according to this
evaluation.
[0004]
Japanese Patent Publication No. 08-502396
[0005]
However, since many conventional hearing aids use a method for amplifying the sound input
from the microphone, the pitch does not change.
In the case of inner ear deafness in which the function of the outer hair cells is deteriorated, the
vibration site, vibration mode and amplitude of the cochlear basement membrane are different,
so that changes in pitch and the like occur simultaneously with deafness. In general, due to the
function of outer hair cells, the site of maximum amplitude of cochlear basement membrane
oscillation is displaced more in the cochlea direction than in the case of passive oscillation. Due
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to the displacement, in the case of an inner ear deaf person whose function of the outer hair cells
is deteriorated, the component of the bass region is reduced compared to the case of a healthy
person, and there is a problem that the pitch is different. This problem can not be solved simply
by amplifying the bass range component. Therefore, in the conventional amplification method,
the inner ear deaf person can not hear the environmental sound as a natural sound
[0006]
An object of the present invention is to provide a hearing aid in which an inner ear deaf person
can hear an environmental sound as a sound closer to the original sound in view of the abovementioned problems.
[0007]
A hearing aid according to the present invention comprises a microphone for inputting
environmental sound and converting it into an electrical signal, additional waveform creating
means for creating an additional signal based on an output signal of the microphone, an output
signal of the microphone and the additional signal And an earphone for converting the
synthesized signal into an acoustic signal.
[0008]
In this way, since the attenuated or extinguished sound can be compensated by the additional
signal, the deaf person can hear the environmental sound as a sound closer to the original sound.
[0009]
Further, in the present invention, in the above-mentioned hearing aid, the additional signal may
have a frequency component of cochlear base plate vibration due to the function of outer hair
cells.
[0010]
In this way, since the sound due to the function of the degraded outer hair cells of the inner ear
deaf person can be compensated by the additional signal, the inner ear deaf person hears the
environmental sound as a sound closer to the original sound. be able to.
[0011]
Further, in the present invention, in the above-mentioned hearing aid, the additional waveform
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creating means transforms each of the frequency components obtained by the Fourier transform
into a low frequency component, and Fourier transform means for Fourier transforming an
output signal of the microphone. Component adjustment means, and inverse Fourier transform
means for performing inverse Fourier transform on the output signal of the component
adjustment means.
[0012]
In this way, it is possible to generate sound due to the function of the degraded outer hair cells of
the deaf person.
[0013]
Further, according to the present invention, in the above-mentioned hearing aid, the additional
signal may be a signal in which the same sampling data is made continuous for each of a
plurality of sampling data.
[0014]
In this way, it is possible to generate sound due to the function of the degraded outer hair cells of
the deaf person.
[0015]
Further, in the present invention, the hearing aid may further comprise adjusting means for
adjusting the additional signal based on an output signal of the microphone.
[0016]
In this way, the inner ear deaf person can adjust the additional signal in accordance with the
degree and nature of their own deafness.
[0017]
In the present invention, the hearing aid may further include delay means for delaying the output
signal of the microphone for a predetermined time, and the combining means may create a
combined signal of the output signal of the delay means and the additional signal. .
[0018]
By doing this, it is possible to reduce the influence of time delay due to processing in the
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additional waveform creating means.
[0019]
According to the hearing aid according to the present invention, since the attenuated or
extinguished sound can be compensated by the additional signal, the deaf person can hear the
environmental sound as a sound closer to the original sound.
[0020]
Hereinafter, embodiments of the present invention will be described with reference to the
drawings.
[0021]
FIG. 1 is a block diagram of a hearing aid 10 according to an embodiment of the present
invention.
The microphone 1 inputs environmental sound and converts it into an electrical signal.
The hearing aid processing means 2 receives the electrical signal and performs the processing
performed by a general hearing aid.
For example, processing such as loud noise removal (peak clip), output limitation by AGC
(automatic amplification adjustment), compression amplification (compression), and noise
suppression mechanism.
Alternatively, the input sound is divided into several frequency bands, and peak clipping, AGC
and compression are performed in each frequency band.
[0022]
The additional waveform creating means 3 receives the output signal from the hearing aid
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processing means 2 and creates an additional signal.
The method of creating the additional signal will be described later.
Further, the adjustment means 4 receives the output signal from the hearing aid processing
means 2 and determines various control parameters necessary at the time of preparation of the
additional signal performed in the additional waveform preparation means 3. Output control
parameters.
As for control parameter input, this hearing aid is connected to a computer and adjusted using
dedicated software, as is the case with many current digital hearing aids.
[0023]
The delay means 5 performs delay processing of the output signal from the hearing aid
processing means 2 in order to adjust the time delay in consideration of the time required for
signal processing in the additional waveform creation means 3.
The combining means 6 combines the output signal from the additional waveform creating
means 3 and the output signal from the delay means 5.
The amplification means 7 adjusts the amplitude of the output signal from the synthesis means 6
according to the setting of the volume in order to cope with the degree of hearing loss of the
wearer.
The earphone 8 converts the output signal from the amplification means 7 into an acoustic
signal.
Regarding the hardware configuration, each means 2 to 7 is configured by an A / D converter, a
D / A converter, and a one-chip microcomputer incorporating a communication function.
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[0024]
FIG. 2 is a block diagram of the additional waveform creating means 3 in the hearing aid
according to the first embodiment of the present invention.
The output signal from the hearing aid processing means 2 is subjected to Fourier transform in
the Fourier transform unit 31, and each obtained frequency component is converted to a
moderately low frequency by the component adjustment unit 32.
At the time of the conversion, control parameters are inputted from the adjustment means 4.
Each frequency component converted by the component adjustment unit 32 is inverse Fourier
transformed by the inverse Fourier transform unit 33 and becomes an output signal of the
additional waveform creation unit 2.
[0025]
The processing contents in the component adjustment unit 32 will be described below.
For each frequency component input to the component adjustment unit 32, the number obtained
by multiplying the frequency of each component by p is converted to a new frequency. That is,
the component whose frequency is A Hz is converted to the component of (A × p) Hz. For
example, when the value of p is 0.9, speech components of 1000 Hz, 950 Hz and 900 Hz of the
input signal are converted to speech components of 900 Hz, 855 Hz and 810 Hz, respectively.
[0026]
Also, for each frequency component of the input signal, the frequency obtained by subtracting
hHz from the frequency of each component may be converted to a new frequency. That is, a
component whose frequency is A Hz is converted to a component of (A−h) Hz. For example,
when the value of h is 50, the speech components of 1000 Hz, 950 Hz, and 900 Hz of the input
signal are converted to speech components of 950 Hz, 900 Hz, and 850 Hz, respectively.
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[0027]
The values of p and h input from the adjustment means 4 may be made variable based on the
frequency of the input signal instead of being fixed as described above. For example, the values
of p and h may be increased for relatively high frequency components, and the values of p and h
may be decreased for relatively low frequency components. Alternatively, the whole may be
divided into several frequency bands, and in each frequency band, a method of multiplying p and
a method of subtracting h may be selected.
[0028]
In addition, for each frequency component of the input signal, the sum of the weighting of
frequency components around the component may be converted to a new frequency. For
example, weights w 1, w 2, w 3, w 4, and w 4 are assigned to respective amplitudes of
components whose frequency of the input signal is (A−2 k) Hz, (A−k) Hz, A Hz, (A + k) Hz, (A +
2 k) Hz. The sum of the products multiplied by w5 may be converted to a new amplitude of the
frequency of AHz. For example, by setting w1 to w3 small and setting w4 to w5 large, it is
possible to generate an output signal with a moderately lowered frequency, which is more
desirable as a timbre. A variety of methods can be considered to appropriately reduce the
frequency of each frequency component other than the above method, and any method may be
used.
[0029]
The amplitude of the additional signal is adjusted according to the degree of hearing loss. That is,
in the case of high hearing loss, it is preferable to set the amplitude of the additional signal to 1
to 2 times the amplitude of the original signal. In the case of mild deafness, a value of 1 or less is
preferred.
[0030]
As described above, according to the hearing aid according to the first embodiment of the
present invention, since the sound by the function of the deteriorated outer hair cells of the
person with inner ear deafness can be compensated by the additional signal, Environmental
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sounds can be heard as sounds closer to the original sound.
[0031]
FIG. 3 is a flowchart of the additional waveform creating means of the hearing aid according to
the second embodiment of the present invention.
First, a counter for counting sampling is reset (S1). Next, the setting number for setting the
process cycle and the adjustment number for adjusting the conversion frequency are input (S2).
Next, counting is started (S3). Next, sampling data is input and stored in a memory (S4). Next,
data of (counter value− [counter value / adjustment number]) is output for each count (S5).
Here, [] represents the largest integer not exceeding the number in parentheses. If the counter
value is less than the set number (No in S6), a process of inputting sampling data, storing data in
memory (S4), and outputting data of (Counter value-[Counter value / Adjustment number]) And
(S5). On the other hand, if the counter value is equal to or more than the set number (Yes in S6),
the processing in that cycle is ended, and the process returns to the first processing again to
perform the processing in the next cycle.
[0032]
Specific examples will be described below. The sampling period is 5 ms, the set number S = 50,
and the adjustment number n = 10. Let t be the counter value. Since 1− [1/10] = 1 when t = 1,
the first data is output. When t = 2, 2- [2/10] = 2, so the second data is output. When t = 9, 9[9/10] = 9, so the ninth data is output. Since 10− [10/10] = 9 when t = 10, the ninth data is
output. When t = 11, since 11− [11/10] = 10, the tenth data is output. When t = 12, 12−
[12/10] = 11, so the 11th data is output. (T = 13-18 omitted) When t = 19, 19− [19/10] = 18, so
the 18th data is output. When t = 20, 20− [20/10] = 18, so the 18th data is output. When t = 21,
since 21− [21/10] = 19, the 19th data is output. When t = 50, 50- [50/10] = 45, so the 45th
data is output.
[0033]
That is, the preceding sampling data is overlapped every ten sampling data, and the subsequent
sampling data are shifted and output later. Therefore, since the sampling data is stretched by
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10/9 times as a whole, the frequency is 9/10 times and converted to a sound with a frequency
10% lower than the original frequency.
[0034]
The last five sampling data of t = 46 to 50 are not used. By doing so, the process is prevented
from extending time. If the sampling period is about 5 ms, there is no problem even if the last
few sampling data in the cycle are discarded. In the above example, the time to be discarded is 5
ms × 5 data = 25 ms. In a normal conversation, even a short-time consonant has a period of
several tens of ms, so the final sound in the cycle never falls off.
[0035]
Next, consider the case where the adjustment number n = 7.5. When t = 1, 1- [1 / 7.5] = 1, so the
first data is output. When t = 2, the second data is output because 2- [2 / 7.5] = 2. When t = 7,
7− [7 / 7.5] = 7, so the seventh data is output. When t = 8, the seventh data is output because 8[8 / 7.5] = 7. Since 9- [9 / 7.5] = 8 when t = 9, the eighth data is output. When t = 14, 14− [14 /
7.5] = 13, so the 13th data is output. Since t- [15 / 7.5] = 13 when t = 15, the 13th data is output.
When t = 16, the 16-th data is output because 16- [16 / 7.5] = 14. (T = 17-49 omitted) When t =
50, 50- [50 / 7.5] = 44, so the 44th data is output.
[0036]
That is, every seven pieces and eight pieces of sampling data, one previous sampling data is
alternately overlapped, and subsequent sampling data are shifted and output later. Therefore,
since the sampling data is stretched by 7.5 / 6.5 times as a whole, the frequency is increased by
6.5 / 7.5 times and converted to 13.3% bass. In addition, the last four data of t = 45-50 are not
used.
[0037]
Thus, by changing the adjustment number n, the frequency is converted to (n-1) / n times, so that
the frequency can be freely adjusted. In order to generate sound due to the function of the
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degraded outer hair cells of a person with inner ear deafness, the number of adjustments n is
preferably about 5 to 20. Note that although the above processing causes distortion in the audio
signal, when the above method is actually implemented using the standard audio data for hearing
aid examination and trial manufacture of the hearing aid, distortion does not cause any problem.
I confirmed that there is. The method of adjusting the amplitude of the additional signal
according to the degree of hearing loss is the same as that of the hearing aid according to the
first embodiment.
[0038]
As described above, according to the hearing aid according to the second embodiment of the
present invention, since the sound by the function of the deteriorated outer hair cells of the
person with inner ear deafness can be compensated by the additional signal, the person with
inner ear deafness can Environmental sounds can be heard as sounds closer to the original
sound.
[0039]
The present invention is not limited to the embodiments described above, and various other
embodiments can be adopted.
For example, one other than the block diagram, the flowchart and control parameters shown in
the above embodiment may be adopted. Moreover, the system configuration which does not
mount the hearing aid processing means 2, the delay means 5, or the amplification means 7 may
be sufficient. The present invention can be applied not only to a hearing aid but also to an audio
signal processing apparatus for a hearing impaired person and the like.
[0040]
The present invention is applicable to hearing aids for hearing impaired people, audio signal
processing devices, and the like.
[0041]
It is a block diagram of a hearing aid concerning an embodiment of the present invention.
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It is a block diagram of an additional waveform creation means of a hearing aid concerning a 1st
embodiment of the present invention. It is a flowchart of the additional waveform preparation
means of the hearing aid which concerns on the 2nd Embodiment of this invention.
Explanation of sign
[0042]
Reference Signs List 1 microphone 2 hearing aid processing means 3 additional waveform
creation means 4 adjustment means 5 delay means 6 combination means 7 amplification means
8 earphone 10 hearing aid 31 Fourier transform part 32 component adjustment part 33 inverse
Fourier transform part
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