Date of Award

May 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Yi Hu

Committee Members

Chiu Tai Law, Jun Zhang, Seyed Hosseini, Yin Wang


Algorithm Development, Dereverberation, Harmonic Regeneration, Noise Reduction, Speech Signal Processing, Telephone Speech


Cochlear implants are electronic prosthetic devices that restores partial hearing in patients with severe to profound hearing loss. Although most coding strategies have significantly improved the perception of speech in quite listening conditions, there remains limitations on speech perception under adverse environments such as in background noise, reverberation and band-limited channels, and we propose strategies that improve the intelligibility of speech transmitted over the telephone networks, reverberated speech and speech in the presence of background noise. For telephone processed speech, we propose to examine the effects of adding low-frequency and high- frequency information to the band-limited telephone speech. Four listening conditions were designed to simulate the receiving frequency characteristics of telephone handsets. Results indicated improvement in cochlear implant and bimodal listening when telephone speech was augmented with high frequency information and therefore this study provides support for design of algorithms to extend the bandwidth towards higher frequencies. The results also indicated added benefit from hearing aids for bimodal listeners in all four types of listening conditions. Speech understanding in acoustically reverberant environments is always a difficult task for hearing impaired listeners. Reverberated sounds consists of direct sound, early reflections and late reflections. Late reflections are known to be detrimental to speech intelligibility. In this study, we propose a reverberation suppression strategy based on spectral subtraction to suppress the reverberant energies from late reflections. Results from listening tests for two reverberant conditions (RT60 = 0.3s and 1.0s) indicated significant improvement when stimuli was processed with SS strategy. The proposed strategy operates with little to no prior information on the signal and the room characteristics and therefore, can potentially be implemented in real-time CI speech processors. For speech in background noise, we propose a mechanism underlying the contribution of harmonics to the benefit of electroacoustic stimulations in cochlear implants. The proposed strategy is based on harmonic modeling and uses synthesis driven approach to synthesize the harmonics in voiced segments of speech. Based on objective measures, results indicated improvement in speech quality. This study warrants further work into development of algorithms to regenerate harmonics of voiced segments in the presence of noise.