USC

Simulating Hearing Loss in Virtual Training

Audio systems for virtual reality and augmented reality training environments commonly focus on high-quality audio reproduction. Yet many trainees may face real-world situations wherein hearing is compromised. In these cases, the hindrance caused by impaired or lost hearing is a significant stressor that may affect performance. Because this phenomenon is hard to simulate without actually causing hearing damage, trainees are largely unpracticed at operating with diminished hearing. To improve the match between training scenarios and real-world situations, this effort aims to add simulated hearing loss or impairment as a training variable. The goal is to affect everything users hear –including non-simulated sounds such as their own and each other’s voices – without overt noticeability, risk to hearing, or requiring headphones.