Operational Rate-Constrained Beamforming in Binaural Hearing Aids. Amini, J., Hendriks, R. C., Heusdens, R., Guo, M., & Jensen, J. In 2018 26th European Signal Processing Conference (EUSIPCO), pages 2504-2508, Sep., 2018.
Operational Rate-Constrained Beamforming in Binaural Hearing Aids [pdf]Paper  doi  abstract   bibtex   
Modern binaural hearing aids (HAs) can collaborate wirelessly with each other as well as with other assistive (wireless) devices. This enables multi-microphone noise reduction over small wireless acoustic sensor networks (WASNs) to increase the intelligibility under adverse conditions. In this work, we assume one of the HAs to serve as the fusion center (FC). The optimal beamforming strategy for processing the received data at the FC depends on the acoustic scene and physical constraints (e.g., the bit-rate for transmission to the FC), and might be frequency dependent. Selection of the optimal beamforming strategy, while satisfying rate constraints on the communication between the different devices is an important challenge in such setups. In this paper, we propose an operational rate-constrained beamforming system for optimal rate allocation and strategy selection across frequency. We show an example of the proposed framework, where both the algorithm selection as well as the required rates to transmit the necessary microphone signals are optimized using uniform quantizers, while minimizing the mean-square error (MSE) distortion measure. In contrast to a well-known (theoretically optimal) reference method based on remote source coding for two devices, the presented algorithm is practically implementable and only requires knowledge of joint signal statistics at the FC. Evaluations (based on simulation experiments) show clear improvement over other practically implementable strateuies.

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