Discrimination of gain increments in speech

Caswell-Midwinter, B. and Whitmer, W. M. (2019) Discrimination of gain increments in speech. Trends in Hearing, 23, pp. 1-9. (doi: 10.1177/2331216519886684) (PMID:31736405)

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During a hearing-aid fitting, the gain applied across frequencies is often adjusted from an initial prescription in order to meet individual needs and preferences. These gain adjustments in one or more frequency bands are commonly verified using speech in quiet (e.g., the clinician’s own voice). Such adjustments may be unreliable and inefficient if they are not discriminable. To examine what adjustments are discriminable when made to speech, the current study measured the just-noticeable differences (JNDs) for gain increments in male, single-talker sentences. Sentences were presented with prescribed gains to the better ears of 41 hearing-impaired listeners. JNDs were measured at d' of 1 for octave-band, dual-octave-band and broadband increments using a fixed-level, same-different task. The JNDs and interquartile ranges (IQRs) for 0.25, 1 and 4 kHz octave-band increments were 6.4 [4.0-7.8], 6.7 [4.6-9.1] and 9.6 [7.3-12.4] dB respectively. The JNDs and IQRs for low, mid and high-frequency dual-octave-band increments were 3.7 [2.5-4.6], 3.8 [2.9-4.7] and 6.8 [4.7-9.1] dB, respectively. The JND for broadband increments was 2.0 [1.5-2.7] dB. High-frequency dual-octave-band JNDs were positively correlated with high-frequency pure-tone thresholds and sensation levels, suggesting an effect of audibility for this condition. All other JNDs were independent of pure-tone threshold and sensation level. JNDs were independent of age and hearing-aid experience. These results suggest using large initial adjustments when using short sentences in a hearing-aid fitting to ensure patient focus, followed by smaller subsequent adjustments, if necessary, to ensure audibility, comfort and stability.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by the Medical Research Council [grant numbers MR/S003576/1, U135097131, 1601056]; and the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whitmer, Dr William and Caswell-Midwinter, Benjamin
Authors: Caswell-Midwinter, B., and Whitmer, W. M.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RF Otorhinolaryngology
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Research Group:Hearing Sciences - Scottish Section
Journal Name:Trends in Hearing
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):2331-2165
Published Online:18 November 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 The Authors
First Published:First published in Trends in Hearing 23: 1-9
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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