Exploiting Deep Neural Networks and Head Movements for Robust Binaural Localisation of Multiple Sources in Reverberant Environments

Authors: Ning Ma, Tobias May, Guy J. Brown

Published in: IEEE/ACM Transactions on Audio, Speech, and Language Processing ( Volume: PP, Issue: 99 )

This paper presents a novel machine-hearing system that exploits deep neural networks (DNNs) and head movements for robust binaural localisation of multiple sources in reverberant environments. DNNs are used to learn the relationship between the source azimuth and binaural cues, consisting of the complete cross-correlation function (CCF) and interaural level differences (ILDs). In contrast to many previous binaural hearing systems, the proposed approach is not restricted to localisation of sound sources in the frontal hemifield. Due to the similarity of binaural cues in the frontal and rear hemifields, front-back confusions often occur. To address this, a head movement strategy is incorporated in the localisation model to help reduce the front-back errors. The proposed DNN system is compared to a Gaussian mixture model (GMM) based system that employs interaural time differences (ITDs) and ILDs as localisation features. Our experiments show that the DNN is able to exploit information in the CCF that is not available in the ITD cue, which together with head movements substantially improves localisation accuracies under challenging acoustic scenarios in which multiple talkers and room reverberation are present.