From Perception to Precision: Advancements in Sound Personalization


December 4, 2023

Like the differences in individuals’ perceptions of color, human auditory perception can vary between two individuals listening under identical conditions. Various factors play into this incongruity, spanning the breadth of physical and physiological differences. The result is that two individuals will likely perceive the same audio content differently, particularly in the high-frequency portion of the audible range, where these discrepancies compound.

Recent TWS market trends show the emergence of new hearing personalization features that tailor earphone sounds to suit an individual’s needs and preferences. This is accomplished via a suite of sophisticated algorithms based on models of human perception, going beyond simple fixed equalization. These algorithms consider how our hearing envelope shifts as we listen at different levels, where we may need more bass and treble when listening to quiet playback.

Many newly available hearing personalization features address mild to moderate hearing loss but face challenges when met with increased high-frequency preferences indicated by listeners displaying typical profiles for advanced age-related hearing loss. Knowles’ prior research into listener preferences demonstrated that individuals with age-related hearing loss preferred hearing restoration via brighter-sounding earphones, demonstrating a clear demand for performance.

Makers of earphones and hearing assistance devices are becoming more sophisticated in helping listeners match the sound of their devices to their ears and tastes, but design considerations are an important part of the performance equation. Hearing personalization algorithms and advanced TWS features, such as ANC and high-resolution audio, introduce more stress on a single-driver TWS design. To reduce stress and allow for greater customization, Knowles balanced armature tweeters can provide earphone designers flexibility in tailoring sound to meet evolving market demands – reserving headroom for multi-driver designs and other advanced functionalities.


Learn More

At the Audio Engineering Society (AES) Chicago Section event on November 7, Knowles Senior Electroacoustic Engineer, R&D Cristina Downey presented “Perfect Sound for You: How Apps Let Users Tailor Their Earphones and Hearing Aids.” Tune into the presentation to explore these new developments, how personalization affects the listener, and how it affects the design of the devices.