Toward a Real-World Technical Test Battery for Remote Microphone Systems Used with Hearing Prostheses

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Remote microphones (RMs) enable clearer reception of speech than would be normally achievable when relying on the acoustic sound field at the listener's ear (Hawkins, J Sp Hear Disord 49, 409–418, 1984). They are used in a wide range of environments, with one example being for children in educational settings. The international standards defining the assessment methods of the technical performance of RMs rely on free-field (anechoic) delivery, a rarely met acoustic scenario. Although some work has been offered on more real-world testing (Husstedt et al., Int J Audiol 61, 34–45. 2022), the area remains under-investigated. The electroacoustic performance of five RMs in a low-reverberation room was compared in order to assess just the RM link, rather than measurements at the end of the signal chain, for example, speech intelligibility in human observers. It pilots physical- and electro-acoustic measures to characterize the performance of RMs. The measures are based on those found in the IEC 60118 standards relating to hearing aids, but modified for diffuse-field delivery, as well as adaptive signal processing. Speech intelligibility and quality are assessed by computer models. Noise bands were often processed into irrelevance by adaptive systems that could not be deactivated. Speech-related signals were more successful. The five RMs achieved similar levels of good predicted intelligibility, for each of two background noise levels. The main difference observed was in the transmission delay between microphone and ear. This ranged between 40 and 50 ms in two of the systems, on the upper edge of acceptability necessary for audio-visual synchrony.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTrends in Hearing
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jul 2023


  • hearing aid
  • radio microphone
  • remote microphone


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