The effect of stimulus duration on preferences for gain adjustments when listening to speech

Whitmer, W. M. , Caswell-Midwinter, B. and Naylor, G. (2022) The effect of stimulus duration on preferences for gain adjustments when listening to speech. International Journal of Audiology, 61(11), pp. 940-947. (doi: 10.1080/14992027.2021.1998676) (PMID:34762024) (PMCID:PMC7613777)

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Objectives: In the personalisation of hearing-aid fittings, gain is often adjusted to suit patient preferences using live speech. When using brief sentences as stimuli, the minimum gain adjustments necessary to elicit consistent preferences (“preference thresholds”) were previously found to be much greater than typical adjustments in current practice. The current study examined the role of duration on preference thresholds. Design: Participants heard 2, 4 and 6-s segments of a continuous monologue presented successively in pairs. The first segment of each pair was presented at each individual’s real-ear or prescribed gain. The second segment was presented with a ±0–12 dB gain adjustment in one of three frequency bands. Participants judged whether the second was “better”, “worse” or “no different” from the first. Study sample: Twenty-nine adults, all with hearing-aid experience. Results: The minimum gain adjustments needed to elicit “better” or “worse” judgments decreased with increasing duration for most adjustments. Inter-participant agreement and intra-participant reliability increased with increasing duration up to 4 s, then remained stable. Conclusions: Providing longer stimuli improves the likelihood of patients providing reliable judgments of hearing-aid gain adjustments, but the effect is limited, and alternative fitting methods may be more viable for effective hearing-aid personalisation.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Funding: This work was supported by funding from the Medical Research Council [grant numbers MR/S003576/1 and 1601056]; and the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Naylor, Dr Graham and Whitmer, Dr William and Caswell-Midwinter, Benjamin
Authors: Whitmer, W. M., Caswell-Midwinter, B., and Naylor, G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Journal Name:International Journal of Audiology
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN (Online):1708-8186
Published Online:11 November 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Journal of Audiology 61(11): 940-947
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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