Level discrimination of speech sounds by hearing-impaired individuals with and without hearing amplification

Whitmer, W. M. and Akeroyd, M. A. (2011) Level discrimination of speech sounds by hearing-impaired individuals with and without hearing amplification. Ear and Hearing, 32(3), pp. 391-398. (doi: 10.1097/AUD.0b013e318202b620) (PMID:21187751) (PMCID:PMC3108890)

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Abstract

Objectives: The current study was designed to see how hearing-impaired individuals judge level differences between speech sounds with and without hearing amplification. It was hypothesized that hearing aid compression should adversely affect the user's ability to judge level differences. Design: Thirty-eight hearing-impaired participants performed an adaptive tracking procedure to determine their level-discrimination thresholds for different word and sentence tokens, as well as speech-spectrum noise, with and without their hearing aids. Eight normal-hearing participants performed the same task for comparison. Results: Level discrimination for different word and sentence tokens was more difficult than the discrimination of stationary noises. Word level discrimination was significantly more difficult than sentence level discrimination. There were no significant differences, however, between mean performance with and without hearing aids and no correlations between performance and various hearing aid measurements. Conclusions: There is a clear difficulty in judging the level differences between words or sentences relative to differences between broadband noises, but this difficulty was found for both hearing-impaired and normal-hearing individuals and had no relation to hearing aid compression measures. The lack of a clear adverse effect of hearing aid compression on level discrimination is suggested to be due to the low effective compression ratios of currently fit hearing aids.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whitmer, Dr William and Akeroyd, Dr Michael
Authors: Whitmer, W. M., and Akeroyd, M. A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Ear and Hearing
Publisher:Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
ISSN:0196-0202
ISSN (Online):1538-4667
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.
First Published:First published in Ear and Hearing 32(3):391-398
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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