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  Help hearing impaired listeners to understand speech better by audio-visual integration in wearable devices


   Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences

   Thursday, August 22, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

About the Project

Supervisory Team:   Stefan Bleeck, David Simpson

Project description

Wearable assistive hearing devices have improved our daily lives over the past two decades. Personal sound amplifiers (like the Apple Airpod Pro) are now able to increase speech intelligibility for people with hearing loss in noisy situations. Combining sound amplifiers with visual devices promises future breakthroughs for the next generation of wearable assistive devices.

Audio-visual information integration is a rapidly growing field with the potential to revolutionize a wide range of applications, from hearing aid design to augmented reality.

We aim to research and develop audio-visual models to improve the sound enhancement capabilities of wearables by adding the ability to localize sound sources and understand the sound environment better. We also want to combine audio input with visual input to enhance perception using multiple modalities.

This project will address the research questions how can audio-visual fusion be used to improve the performance of wearable devices for people with hearing loss?

The project can focus on

1.   Investigation of fundamental psychophysical measurements to describe capability and limits of audio-visual integration.

2.   Development of new algorithms for audio- visual fusion, scene understanding, and user interaction in a complex realistic sound environment.

3.   Implementation of real-time technology on newly designed wearable devices and testing in real-world environments

4.   Explore the socio-technical issues associated with audio-visual integration, such as privacy, security, and user acceptance.

Entry Requirements

A very good undergraduate degree (at least a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent).

Closing date: applications should be received no later than 31 August 2024 for standard admissions, but later applications may be considered depending on the funds remaining in place.

Funding: For UK students, Tuition Fees and a stipend of £18,622 tax-free per annum for up to 3.5 years.

How To Apply

Apply online: Search for a Postgraduate Programme of Study (soton.ac.uk). Select programme type (Research), 2024/25, Faculty of Physical Sciences and Engineering, next page select “PhD Engineering & Environment (Full time)”. In Section 2 of the application form you should insert the name of the supervisor Stefan Bleeck

Applications should include:

Research Proposal

Curriculum Vitae

Two reference letters

Degree Transcripts/Certificates to date

For further information please contact:

The School of Engineering is committed to promoting equality, diversity inclusivity as demonstrated by our Athena SWAN award. We welcome all applicants regardless of their gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation or age, and will give full consideration to applicants seeking flexible working patterns and those who have taken a career break. The University has a generous maternity policy, onsite childcare facilities, and offers a range of benefits to help ensure employees’ well-being and work-life balance. The University of Southampton is committed to sustainability and has been awarded the Platinum EcoAward.


Biological Sciences (4) Computer Science (8) Engineering (12)

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