Despite considerable effort, monaural (single-microphone) algorithms capable of increasing the intelligibility of speech in noise have remained elusive. Successful development of such an algorithm is especially important for hearing-impaired (HI) listeners, given their particular difficulty in noisy backgrounds. In the current study, an algorithm based on binary masking was developed to separate speech from noise. Unlike the ideal binary mask, which requires prior knowledge of the premixed signals, the masks used to segregate speech from noise in the current study were estimated by training the algorithm on speech not used during testing. Sentences were mixed with speech-shaped noise and with babble at various signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs). Testing using normal-hearing and HI listeners indicated that intelligibility increased following processing in all conditions. These increases were larger for HI listeners, for the modulated background, and for the least-favorable SNRs. They were also often substantial, allowing several HI listeners to improve intelligibility from scores near zero to values above 70%.

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