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SSiN-VA outcomes for twelve normal-hearing participants

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Salorio Corbetto, Marina  ORCID logo
Picinali, Lorenzo 


Spatial hearing is critical for communication in everyday multi-talker, sound-rich environments. To gain an understanding of how well users of bilateral hearing devices function in complex sound environments, and to be able to regularly monitor their performance outside of the clinics, we have implemented a Virtual Acoustics (VA) version of the Spatial Speech in Noise (SSiN) test (1), named the SSiN-VA. The SSiN-VA allows for simultaneous assessment of speech discrimination and relative localisation with changing source locations in the presence of noise. The use of this dual-task paradigm increases the cognitive load to better represent the difficulties faced by listeners in noisy real-world environments. For many current speech assessments, patients need to visit a clinic and undergo testing using a multi loudspeaker array. This is time consuming for the patient and clinician. The equipment is costly and has a large footprint, taking up vital clinical space. In reality this often means that spatial hearing assessments are not conducted at all. As we move towards a clinical model where patients take greater control of their healthcare outcomes and a greater number of clinical appointments are conducted remotely, outcome measures that allow patients to carry out assessments at home are becoming more relevant. The SSiN-VA was implemented using the 3D Tune-In Toolkit (2) to simulate seven loudspeaker locations, spaced at 30° intervals with azimuths between +90° and –90°, and rendered for headphone playback using the binaural spatialisation technique. Twelve normal-hearing participants were assessed to evaluate if the virtual implementation of the test produced similar results to using a loudspeaker array. They were tested at three different individually selected speech-to-noise ratios (SNRs).

  1. Bizley JK, Elliott N, Wood KC, Vickers DA. Simultaneous assessment of speech identification and spatial discrimination: A potential testing approach for bilateral cochlear implant users? Trends in Hearing. 2015 Dec 1;19:2331216515619573.
  2. Cuevas-Rodríguez M, Picinali L, González-Toledo D, Garre C, de la Rubia-Cuestas E, Molina-Tanco L, et al. 3D Tune-In Toolkit: An open-source library for real-time binaural spatialisation. PloS one. 2019;14(3):1–37.


Software / Usage instructions

There are two files containing data for relative localisation and word discrimination separately.


spatial hearing, speech in noise, remote testing, virtual audio, relative localisation, word discrimination


National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) (via Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust) (201608)
MSC was funded by Imperial Confidence in Concept, Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). DAV and MSC were funded by a Programme Grant for Applied Research (NIHR201608). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care. MSC, BW, and DAV were funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) UK, Grant code MR/S002537/1.