Mihaela-Beatrice Neagu

PhD project by Mihaela-Beatrice Neagu

Name: Mihaela-Beatrice Neagu
Project Title:
Evaluation of pupillometry as a diagnostic tool for hearing-aid fitting
Computational models of auditory signal processing and perception
(s): Torsten Dau, Abigail Kressner (DTU Health Tech), Dorothea Wendt (Eriksholm Research Centre)

Project Description:

Speech communication provides a major basis for human interaction and involves understanding speech in adverse listening situations. People with hearing loss commonly report that speech communication in everyday life is effortful, tiring and sometimes stressful. Several studies gathered evidence and demonstrated the relevance of measures of listening effort in audiology. The measurement of the pupil dilation, i.e. pupillometry, can be interpreted as reliable index of listening effort. Within the last years, pupil dilations during speech perception in background noise have been studied extensively and it has been demonstrated that listening effort is affected by speech intelligibility, masker type, hearing impairment and hearing-aid signal processingSo far, the pupillometry method has only been evaluated on a group level, no attempts have been made to evaluate the method in individual listeners.

This PhD project examines whether the pupillometry method can be a suitable diagnostic tool for hearing-aid fitting and for testing the benefit of a hearing aid on an individual listener basis. The transition from a group level towards an individual level of listening effort is not straightforward and provides some challenges since the underlying components affecting the pupillary response are not fully understood yet. To assess the individual pupillary response as an outcome measure of listening effort, the sensitivity and specificity of the pupillary method within a speech-in-noise test will be explored.


Testing the pupillary response within a speech-in-noise test should contribute to a better understanding of the speech communication challenges experienced by many hearing-impaired listeners. The reliability results of the method are an important prerequisite for future experimental analysis and for developing pupillometry and the test protocol towards a standardized test for clinical use. It is also crucial to provide rehabilitation techniques that adequately address the problems that hearing-impaired people are facing in everyday communication.



Torsten Dau
Head of Sections, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 39 77


Abigail Anne Kressner
Assistant Professor
DTU Health Tech