On Friday 7 October, Johannes Zaar successfully defended his PhD thesis “Measures and computational models of microscopic speech perception.”
In his PhD project, Johannes Zaar investigated consonant perception in different acoustic scenarios. He analyzed the effects of noise interference and hearing-instrument signal processing on consonant recognition and confusions. This “microscopic” approach differs from the more classical approach of studying “macroscopic” speech perception, such as sentence recognition. Johannes developed a computational model that quantitatively accounts for the effects observed in the large set of experimental data. The proposed model framework will be useful for the evaluation of hearing-instrument processing strategies, particularly when combined with simulations of individual hearing impairment.
At the defense, Johannes gave a very clear presentation about the main results of his work. The presentation was followed by an intense discussion with the external examiners about the analysis of his experimental data, the details of his modeling framework as well as the implications of this work for future developments regarding fundamental aspects of speech science and applied aspects in hearing technology. Johannes responded well at all times to questions which covered general aspects of motivation for the work as well as highly-detailed specific issues. He also provided meaningful answers to more speculative queries that demonstrated his understanding of the relevant literature and understanding of consonant perception and the computational model’s strengths and limitations. Overall the committee think that this study represents a significant and fundamental contributions to the literature on consonant perception.
Principal supervisor: Professor Torsten Dau, DTU Elektro
Examiners: Associate Professor Jeremy Marozeau, DTU Elektro
Professor Martin Cooke, University of the Basque Country, Spain
Professor Judy Dubno, Medical University of South Carolina, United States
Chairperson at defence: Associate professor Bastian Epp, DTU Elektro