Healthcare headset with tuneable auditory characteristics control for children with autism spectrum disorder

Tak Chun KWONG, Huan Ling YUAN, Wai Yin Steve MUNG, Henry Kar Hang CHU, Che Hin Chetwyn CHAN, Daniel Pak Kong LUN, Ho Man YU, Li CHENG, Yat Sze CHOY

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

Abstract

Auditory hyperreactivity is commonly observed in children with autism spectrum disorder. Autistic children perceive different sounds in their daily lives as intolerable; in certain instances, aversive behaviours are provoked in the presence of noise. Noise-cancelling headphones are often used to cope with behavioural problems related to auditory hyperreactivity in children with autism spectrum disorder. However, noise attenuation in traditional headphones is focused on the suppression of noise amplitude levels without considering the heterogeneous aural perceptions of autistic children. To design a suitable noise-control function in headphones to cater to children with autism, who have different aural perceptions, a series of aural perception and electroencephalography tests were conducted, wherein autistic children with auditory hyperreactivity listened to sounds of different frequencies and amplitudes to analyse their subjective aural responses. Suitable noise-attenuation targets were determined based on hearing perception curves that were constructed as a function of the mean aural perception ratings and noise levels using power function fitting. Subsequently, a hybrid active noise cancellation (ANC) system based on aural perception was developed and validated. The results showed that frequencies of 250 Hz and 8 kHz were rated by the majority of the children with autism as most unpleasant. The participants were partitioned into five clusters using the K-means algorithm. Each cluster was found to have its own characteristic aural perception response. Ultimately, an improvement in the aural perception response was observed when the children used this type of headset that had aural perception characteristics suitable for different clusters of children with autism. Copyright © 2024 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109876
JournalApplied Acoustics
Volume218
Early online dateJan 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024

Citation

Kwong, T. C., Yuan, H.-L., Mung, S. W. Y., Chu, H. K. H., Chan, C. C. H., Lun, D., P. K., Yu, H. M., Cheng, L., & Choy, Y. S. (2024). Healthcare headset with tuneable auditory characteristics control for children with autism spectrum disorder. Applied Acoustics, 218, Article 109876. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apacoust.2024.109876

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