A convolutional neural-network model of human cochlear mechanics and filter tuning for real-time applications

Abstract

Auditory models are commonly used as feature extractors for automatic speech-recognition systems or as front-ends for robotics, machine-hearing and hearing-aid applications. Although auditory models can capture the biophysical and nonlinear properties of human hearing in great detail, these biophysical models are computationally expensive and cannot be used in real-time applications. We present a hybrid approach where convolutional neural networks are combined with computational neuroscience to yield a real-time end-to-end model for human cochlear mechanics, including level-dependent filter tuning (CoNNear). The CoNNear model was trained on acoustic speech material and its performance and applicability were evaluated using (unseen) sound stimuli commonly employed in cochlear mechanics research. The CoNNear model accurately simulates human cochlear frequency selectivity and its dependence on sound intensity, an essential quality for robust speech intelligibility at negative speech-to-background-noise ratios. The CoNNear architecture is based on parallel and differentiable computations and has the power to achieve real-time human performance. These unique CoNNear features will enable the next generation of human-like machine-hearing applications.

Publication
Nature: Machine Intelligence
Deepak Baby
Deepak Baby
Applied Scientist

My research interests include speech recognition, enhancement and deep learning.

Sarah Verhulst
Sarah Verhulst
Associate Professor

Associate Professor at Ghent University, Belgium

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