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Topic: Best MP3 encoder settings to improve speech clarity for a person going deaf (Read 1066 times) previous topic - next topic

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Best MP3 encoder settings to improve speech clarity for a person going deaf
Between a mix of an audio processing issue and hereditary hearing loss, discerning speech (in person or otherwise) has been getting more and more difficult. It has not deteriorated yet to the point I need a hearing aid, but it does mean that listening to podcasts is getting frustrating.

I would like to see if there are any sort of MP3 encoder or processing settings I can tweak to apply to the MP3 files I've downloaded that would make the speech in them a bit more intelligible. I'm using LAME but don't care which MP3 encoder I use. I really want it to be MP3 because none of the speech-specific codecs like Opus are compatible with my portable devices. I know MP3 won't produce the ideal. I just want to get the best I can within its parameters.

First, I know that the recommendation for newbies and the audio-ignorant is to use the default settings if they have no idea what the advanced settings do. But these aren't helping me much. Encoder settings that maximize music quality for a normal-hearing person do not do much for improving speech clarity for a hearing-impaired person because I have deficiencies in frequency perception and such that I am trying to account for.

Based on my research, there existI processing methods designed to improve intelligibility for the hearing-impaired. But most of the algorithms I read in journals seem to go way beyond what appears to be possible with anything MP3-related, at least based on my very limited knowledge. The best I have figured out after a few days of research is that playing with highpass and lowpass cutoffs can help. I've been trying this, and while I have a sense of the cutoffs to try I am flying blind with respect to filter widths.

Are there options beyond modifying the filters? Would messing with masking or ATH settings help somehow? Is there another encoder besides LAME that I should use? Has anyone encountered this issue, and what did you do?

Re: Best MP3 encoder settings to improve speech clarity for a person going deaf
Reply #1
I'm not an expert at all, but I believe lossy audio codecs, be it MP3 or Opus, aim to reproduce the original audio as close as possible. I think what you're looking for is an equalizer, to boost certain frequencies that you are starting to lose.
Changing the settings of LAME or Opus will only result in slightly worse audio quality, which will make the experience worse for you, IMHO.

  • eahm
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Re: Best MP3 encoder settings to improve speech clarity for a person going deaf
Reply #2
I think the EQ is your best option as well, you can also convert the file with the EQ DSP applied if your player doesn't have an EQ.

  • MichaelW
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Re: Best MP3 encoder settings to improve speech clarity for a person going deaf
Reply #3
As people say, EQ is what you need. A visit to an audiologist will give you a picture of your personal hearing loss.

In the most general terms, people lose the highest frequencies first, and these are important for many of the consonants in English, so you might get some benefit by boosting the frequencies that are high for the human voice--try from about 1 kHz upwards.

Good luck.