Study of Auditory Localization with a Wearable Microphone Belt Providing Haptic Feedback

Authors

  • Ana Tapia Rousiouk 1) École d'orthophonie et d'audiologie, Université de Montréal 2) Institut universitaire de réadaptation en déficience physique de Montréal
  • François Grondin <p>3) IntRoLab, Université de Sherbrooke</p>
  • Victoria Duda 1) École d'orthophonie et d'audiologie, Université de Montréal 2) Institut universitaire de réadaptation en déficience physique de Montréal

Abstract

Background and Aim

Spatial navigation in our acoustic surroundings is known to rely on auditory localization abilities, these being impaired in people with single-sided deafness as well as dual sensory (visual and hearing) losses. The aim of our study is to examine the precision and accuracy of human auditory localization assisted by a microphone array mounted on a belt providing haptic feedback around the waist, the SmartBelt.

Methods

Twenty normal-hearing adult subjects were blindfolded and wore a hearing protective device in the right ear to simulate a dual sensory impairment. After a screening test to rule out hearing loss, the SmartBelt was calibrated to their waist size. The auditory localization task was followed by a technical aid appreciation questionnaire. The testing took place in a sound booth with 20 loudspeakers placed around a 360º horizontal circular array (Auditory Localization Evaluation System, SELA). The stimulus was a 65 dBA 3 second traffic sound. Subjects wore a laser-helmet as a pointing tool and were instructed to localize the sound source by facing it and pressing on a button. Three test conditions corresponding to different loudspeaker areas were tested twice, the belt being either on or off: frontal, left-side and right-side. The order of conditions was randomized and unknown to the subjects and evaluator in the sound booth.

Results

The SmartBelt improved sound localization in the frontal condition and worsened it in the left-side condition. The right-side was indifferent to the belt being on or off. The appreciation questionnaire brought complementary considerations in respect to the device: training, learning effort and functional performance received good ratings whereas appearance, weight and commodity received lower ratings.

Conclusion

The SmartBelt combines the use of auditory and haptic feedback to improve frontal localization. These findings suggest this vibrotactile device may benefit the localization abilities of those with dual sensory loss.

Additional Files

Published

2022-08-19

How to Cite

1.
Tapia Rousiouk A, Grondin F, Duda V. Study of Auditory Localization with a Wearable Microphone Belt Providing Haptic Feedback. Canadian Acoustics [Internet]. 2022 Aug. 19 [cited 2024 May 23];50(3):90-1. Available from: https://jcaa.caa-aca.ca/index.php/jcaa/article/view/3867

Issue

Section

Proceedings of the Acoustics Week in Canada

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