Haptic-auditory perceptual feedback based training for improving the spatial acoustic resolution of the visually impaired people
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3D binaural sounds play an important role in the development of navigational systems for the blind people. The use of generic HRTFs in virtual auditory displays significantly affects the acoustic spatial resolution and the listener’s ability to make localization judgments regarding the sound sources situated inside the cone of confusion. The aim of this paper is to investigate whether haptic-auditory feedback based training can enhance sound localization performance, front-back discrimination and the navigational skills of the visually impaired people. In our experiments, we assessed the sound localization performance of nine visually impaired subjects before and after a series of haptic-auditory training procedures aimed to enhance the perception of 3D sounds. The results of our tests demonstrate that our subjects succeeded to improve their sound localization performance, reduced the incidence of angular precision and reversal errors and became able to build an effective spatial representation map of the acoustic environment.