Hearing loss is on the rise, affecting 1 in 6 people in the UK and we are consuming more and more of our news and information via audio-visual media – videos currently make up over 70% of internet traffic. This makes improving media accessibility more important than ever.
Lauren have been working with the EPSRC funded ‘S3A Future Spatial Audio Project‘ to translate this understanding into end-user technology. In this project she developed a simple control which allows the viewer to adjust the complexity of a television sound mix and personalize it for their needs, allowing usability whilst maintaining the producer’s creative intent. The results had positive feedback from end-users and producers and are currently working with broadcasting and technology partners to implement this into production workflows and into end-user systems.
Lauren’s project exploits the next generation of broadcast audio technology, object-based broadcasting, to reduce the barriers to television content experienced by people with hearing loss. The balance between different sounds within a television soundtrack has been shown as a significant barrier in my research. Experiments have shown that some non-speech sounds which help normal hearing listeners understand speech still provide some benefit for many people with hearing loss.