Binaural hearing aids (HAs) can potentially perform advanced noise reduction algorithms, leading to an improvement over monaural/bilateral HAs. Due to the limited transmission capacities between the HAs and given knowledge of the complete joint noisy signal statistics, the optimal rate-constrained beamforming strategy is known from the literature. However, as these joint statistics are unknown in practice, sub-optimal strategies have been presented. In this paper, we present a unified framework to study the performance of these existing optimal and sub-optimal rate-constrained beamforming methods for binaural HAs. Moreover, we propose to use an asymmetric sequential coding scheme to estimate the joint statistics between the microphones in the two HAs. We show that under certain assumptions, this leads to sub-optimal performance in one HA but allows to obtain the truly optimal performance in the second HA. Based on the mean square error distortion measure, we evaluate the performance improvement between monaural beamforming (no communication) and the proposed scheme, as well as the optimal and the existing sub-optimal strategies in terms of the information bit-rate. The results show that the proposed method outperforms existing practical approaches in most scenarios, especially at middle rates and high rates, without having the prior knowledge of the joint statistics.
|Tidsskrift||IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing|
|Status||Udgivet - 1 jan. 2019|