InterSpeech 2021

Speech Denoising with Auditory Models
(3 minutes introduction)

Mark R. Saddler (MIT, USA), Andrew Francl (MIT, USA), Jenelle Feather (MIT, USA), Kaizhi Qian (MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, USA), Yang Zhang (MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab, USA), Josh H. McDermott (MIT, USA)
Contemporary speech enhancement predominantly relies on audio transforms that are trained to reconstruct a clean speech waveform. The development of high-performing neural network sound recognition systems has raised the possibility of using deep feature representations as ‘perceptual’ losses with which to train denoising systems. We explored their utility by first training deep neural networks to classify either spoken words or environmental sounds from audio. We then trained an audio transform to map noisy speech to an audio waveform that minimized the difference in the deep feature representations between the output audio and the corresponding clean audio. The resulting transforms removed noise substantially better than baseline methods trained to reconstruct clean waveforms, and also outperformed previous methods using deep feature losses. However, a similar benefit was obtained simply by using losses derived from the filter bank inputs to the deep networks. The results show that deep features can guide speech enhancement, but suggest that they do not yet outperform simple alternatives that do not involve learned features.