PhD scholarship in Characterizing Consequences of Hearing Impairment and Hearing-aid Processing on Speech Perception DTU Electrical Engineering Denmark

PhD scholarship in Characterizing Consequences of Hearing Impairment and Hearing-aid Processing on Speech Perception in Competing-talker Scenarios


DTU Electrical Eng




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The Hearing Systems group at DTU Elektro seeks a qualified candidate for a vacant 3-year PhD position in collaboration with Eriksholm Research Centre, which is connected to the hearing-aid manufacturer Oticon A/S. Hearing Systems is part of the department of Electrical Engineering. Our research is concerned with speech communication, auditory signal processing and perception, audiology, behavioral and objective measures of the auditory function, environmental acoustics, and hearing-instrument signal processing. The goal of this research is to understand the functioning of the human auditory system and to provide insights that are useful for technical applications such as speech recognition systems, hearing aids, cochlear implants, and hearing diagnostics tools.   

The aim of this PhD project is to improve our understanding of the deficits that hearing-impaired (HI) listeners encounter when listening to speech in competing-talker scenarios and to evaluate hearing-aid compensation strategies in a modeling framework. It is well established that normal-hearing listeners have remarkable abilities when it comes to segregating the attended target speech from competing speakers in the background. However, hearing-impaired listeners typically experience major problems in such competing-talker scenarios, even when provided with state-of-the-art hearing aids. In this project, a twofold approach will be considered, using listening experiments with normal-hearing (NH) and HI listeners combined with computational speech intelligibility modeling. In a final step, effects of different hearing-aid signal processing strategies will be investigated by means of experiments and model simulations in order to provide the background knowledge required to make much more informed decisions about hearing-aid signal processing approaches then available today.

Responsibilities and tasks 

The PhD candidate will design and conduct perceptual experiments to investigate the importance of several acoustic and linguistic factors for target-speech segregation (e.g., number of competing talkers, talker gender, structural similarity of target and background speech, spatial distribution, room acoustical effects) in NH and HI listeners.

Based on the data obtained in the experiments, existing computational speech intelligibility models developed in the group will be extended/adapted to account for the experimental data.

Finally, an experimental investigation of the effects of different customized and state-of-the-art hearing-aid signal processing approaches on HI listeners’ speech reception performance will be conducted. The experimental results will be further analyzed by comparing them to model simulations in order to identify the “internal” causes of improved/diminished speech reception in competing-talker scenarios.

The ideal candidate should have some knowledge of experimental design, speech perception, spatial perception, computational auditory modelling / speech intelligibility modelling, and programming in MATLAB.


Candidates should hold a MSc in engineering or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to the MSc in engineering.

Approval and Enrolment

PhD scholarships are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general PhD programmes of DTU. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.    


The assessment of the applicants will be made by Torsten Dau, Johannes Zaar, and Niels Henrik Pontoppidan.   

We offer

We offer an interesting and challenging job in an international environment focusing on education, research, scientific advice and innovation, which contribute to enhancing the economy and improving social welfare. We strive for academic excellence, collegial respect and freedom tempered by responsibility. The Technical University of Denmark (DTU) is a leading technical university in Northern Europe and benchmarks with the best universities in the world.   

Salary and appointment terms

The salary and appointment terms are consistent with the current rules for PhD students. The period of employment is 3 years.

The main workplace will be DTU Lyngby Campus. Some work may be carried out at the Eriksholm Research Centre and/or Oticon A/S at Kongebakken.

Further information 

Further information may be obtained from Professor Torsten Dau, tel.: +45 4525 3977.

You can read more about DTU Elektro on and the Hearing Systems group at 


Please submit your online application no later than 15 October 2017. Applications must be submitted as one pdf filecontaining all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply online," fill in the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one pdf file. The file must include: 

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)

  • Curriculum vitae

  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma

  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and excel spreadsheet here)


Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their MSc, but cannot begin before having received it. 

All qualified candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The Department of Electrical Engineering is the central department at the DTU in electrical, biomedical engineering and acoustic technology. It is our goal to ensure an engineering training and research, which matches that of other leading universities around the world. The department is organized into sections each covering important areas of electrical, biomedical engineering and acoustic technologies. Including PhD students we have a total of 275 staff members. 

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.

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